The only thing more Swedish than meatballs from IKEA is the Vancouver Canucks. From Thomas Gradin to Matthias Ohlund to Markus Naslund to Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Swedes make up the foundation of the Canucks.
Now they have a chance to add another Swede to the core of their team. This time, the addition would not be to the roster, but rather to the front office.
Patrik Allvin learned his trade in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization. He started as a scout, and worked his way up to Assistant General Manager. He got a brief stint as Interim General Manager last season after Jim Rutherford resigned, until the Penguins ultimately hired Brian Burke and Ron Hextall.
What Could it Do for the Team?
There’s a certain level of comfort that comes with cultural familiarity. As a Canadian living in the United States, I understand this first-hand. When I meet fellow Canadians, I get a sense of community and belonging. I can only imagine what it means for young guys to come to another continent, speaking another language, to get to be with their comrades.
This would especially be important for the Canucks’ younger Swedes. Elias Pettersson and Nils Hoglander are still developing, so having a mentor that they can relate with would be a huge bonus. No disrespect to Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who will be a major part of this team for a long time.
The Allvin Advising Committee
You might recognize the names of the Special Advisors to the GM: Henrik and Daniel Sedin. You might also recognize that those future Hall of Famers hail from “The Elongated Country,” as it’s affectionately nicknamed overseas.
Allvin’s Special Advisors wouldn’t be the only ones with a personal connection with him. He worked closely with Canucks’ President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford for many years, and much of the credit in Allvin’s development belongs to Rutherford.
What Would He Bring to the Table?
Although Canucks’ fans don’t speak very positively about former GM Jim Benning, it’s generally accepted that he possessed a keen eye for talent. With a few exceptions, the Canucks drafted very well under Benning. Now that he’s gone, they’d do well to replace him with someone who has similar skills.
Once his playing career came to an end, Allvin spent the first decade as a scout, first for the Montreal Canadiens and then for the Penguins. Among others, he was part of the team that drafted Jaroslav Halak in the 9th round of the 2003 Entry Draft.
How Likely are the Canucks to Hire Allvin?
On Monday’s episode of 32 Thoughts: The Podcast, NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman went into great detail talking about Allvin’s chances of becoming the next GM of the Canucks.
“I have a rule. Go with what you’re told at the beginning. There are a lot of times in searches where what you’re told at the beginning generally tends to be pretty intuitive. Right at the beginning in Montreal, we were told, ‘Ken Hughes: watch him.’ Right away in Vancouver, we were told, ‘Patrik Allvin: watch him,’ and he’s still there.”
Of course, Hughes was hired as the GM of the Canadiens Tuesday morning. There may be voices telling Friedman that it won’t be Allvin, but he’s reluctant to believe them.
The Canucks can give a nod to their past as they build for the future. It starts with Patrik Allvin. Should the announcement come over the next few days and weeks, Canucks fans should be elated.
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