It was a smoothy smooth night for new Canucks defenceman Filip Hronek in his Vancouver debut Thursday after being acquired from the Detroit Red Wings just before the trade deadline. The 25-year-old right shot from the Czech Republic was picked up in a deal on March 1st with a 4th-round draft pick in exchange for a conditional 1st-rounder and a 2nd-rounder at the 2023 NHL Draft. He had to wait three weeks to dress while overcoming an upper-body injury.
“It felt good,” Hronek said postgame. “A good team win, obviously happy about all of the positive things.”
Hronek played in all situations over the span of 24:25 against the San Jose Sharks, had three hits, a blocked shot and finished a plus-2. He and four other Vancouver D-men stayed busy after Christian Wolanin left the game to injury early in the first period.
“Get to know everyone during the game, but it sucks to lose the guy right away,” Hronek said.
Canucks Easy Way
The Canucks opponent on Thursday night weren’t exactly inspired. The Sharks mustered 19 shots-on-goal and seemed content to sink a little closer to a high-percentage NHL Draft pick. They presently have the second fewest points in the NHL.
Good timing for Hronek, who ended up getting the opportunity to find his legs and to work at even strength, on the power play and get a little taste of the penalty kill without too much stress.
“I don’t think I was nervous, more itchy than nervous,” Hronek answered to a query postgame. “Pretty good crowd. Glad we could score for them and they enjoy the game.”
With Hronek the Canucks responded to a need and fulfilled a desire. They needed to improve the right side of the defence corps, first and foremost, and they stayed within their self-proclaimed age perimeters. They wanted to build with players in their mid-twenties and Hronek fits the bill.
“I liked his swag’ (swagger), quick plays, played really well,” Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet said after Thursday’s win. “For him coming back after three weeks and playing five D, it’s not the greatest situation.”
As we described at the time of his acquisition, Hronek has solid numbers while playing a Detroit team progressing through a complete rebuild.
The familiarization and evaluation process has begun in earnest.