When asked if the Vancouver Canucks were better entering this season than last, general manager Patrik Allvin thought about it.
“I think we changed our group, absolutely,” he said before thinking hard again, “I think we’re, ahh, we’re, as we speak as of today, there is more depth. We have clearly seen a lot of growth in our younger players that didn’t even make the opening night roster here. They’ve showed us they’re capable of coming up at any time and giving us games.”
That was tough. No doubt about the “changes” part of it, and there may be more coming.
Sportsnet reported Tuesday that part of Canucks winger Conor Garland’s decision to change agents involves wanting a trade out of Vancouver. Garland moved from his long-time New England based representative Pete Cooney to Judd Moldaver of of Wasserman Sports.
Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet, who guided Garland in Arizona for three seasons when they were both with the Coyotes, said he was familiar with the agent change.
“I have a good relationship with Gar’, so for me, I talk to him a lot,” Tocchet said after Tuesday’s practice. “But he told me he was going to get a new agent, so that’s, good for him I guess, he didn’t feel whatever he felt, so maybe that will help his mind going forward, whatever he does. I expect he’ll be playing with ‘Petey’ (Elias Pettersson) tomorrow, so I think he’s excited about that.”
Quite a topic to pop up one day before the season starts, to go with the fact the Canucks have dealt with a somewhat tumultuous stretch getting their opening night roster in order due to a flu bug, injuries and salary cap restraints. To etch in stone Wednesday night’s line-up on Wednesday morning would be a premature exercise.
Garland’s salary cap hit of $4.95-million for this season and two more has been the subject of trade chatter since the time he was acquired with Oliver Ekman-Larsson from the Coyotes during the 2021 off season. Potentially with a bit of leverage, the Canucks might be stoked to see what they might be able to get in return for the feisty, under-sized winger.
Love him or leave him, they’d be happy to free up the cap space.
Meanwhile, the elevator between Vancouver and Abbotsford has been busy lately, with more potential moves coming on opening day.
Center Teddy Blueger and defenceman Guillaume Brisebois are considered injured but hopefully ready to play while others have been experiencing various levels of flu symptoms.
“I know a good chunk of guys will be there,” Tocchet said to laughter. “That’s good, that’s the way I look at it. That’s all I worry about, the guys that are going to be in the line-up, we have a game plan, and we’ll deal with whatever comes out way tomorrow.”
What’s next? Other than Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and the Edmonton OIlers in Vancouver ready to play.
— Simmer’s Sunday 9: Canucks, Kraken, Pacific North Rivalry