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Work still to be done revamping Vancouver Canucks roster: Allvin

‘I believe there is more to do here, we’re not happy where we are’
Vancouver Canucks’ Curtis Lazar, left, and Tampa Bay Lightning’s Alex Killorn vie for the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Wednesday, January 18, 2023. The Canucks dealt forward Lazar to the New Jersey Devils for a fourth-round pick at the 2024 draft on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Patrik Allvin has been busy in recent weeks, chipping away and reconstructing the Vancouver Canucks roster.

After the NHL’s trade deadline Friday, the general manager knows his work is still not done.

“Where we are sitting right now I believe there is more to do here. We’re not happy where we are,” he said.

Players have responded since management replaced head coach Bruce Boudreau with Rick Tocchet on Jan. 22, and the team’s standard and culture are changing, Allvin added.

“We still have some work to do in order to get this team to where we believe they deserve to be, to be a competitive team moving forward and hopefully taking a big step next,” the GM said.

Allvin’s work started early this trade season.

Vancouver’s blockbuster move came at the end of January when the Canucks dealt Bo Horvat — the team’s captain and leading goal scorer — to the New York Islanders in exchange for a protected first-round pick in the 2023 draft, and forwards Anthony Beauvillier and Aatu Raty.

The Canucks then flipped the Islanders first-round pick to the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday in exchange for defenceman Filip Hronek and a 2023 fourth-round selection. Detroit also received Vancouver’s second-round pick this year.

“I was surprised,” Hronek said of the deal Friday. “But I’m happy now and I can’t wait to meet all the guys, the fans. I’m excited about it, for sure.”

The 25-year-old right-shot blue liner had nine goals and 29 assists in 60 games for Detroit this season.

Selected by the Red Wings in the second round of the 2016 draft, the six-foot, 190-pound native of Hradec Kralove, Czechia, has amassed 156 points (30 goals, 126 assists) and 162 penalty minutes in 305 regular-season games with Detroit.

“The way we want to play, the way we want to create an identity here of playing fast hockey, the skill we have up front, it’s requiring the puck to get up the ice and prefer to be on the tape too,” Allvin said.

“Filip is a two-way defenceman that over the last couple of years, I would say established himself as a top-end defenceman in the league.”

Hronek told reporters he’s dealing with “an upper-body injury” but expects to be in Vancouver on Monday and plans to get into the Canucks lineup before the end of the season.

“He’s injured. He’s listed week to week,” Allvin said. “I would think once we get him in here to Vancouver early next week, we’ll know more about it but I would anticipate him playing here in a couple of weeks.”

Vancouver completed six trades between Jan. 31 and Friday’s deadline.

The Canucks sent depth forward Will Lockwood and a seventh-round pick in 2026 to the New York Rangers for winger Vitali Kravtsov on Saturday. The club then sent defenceman Riley Stillman to the Buffalo Sabres for forward prospect Josh Bloom on Monday, and traded veteran blue liner Luke Schenn to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 2023 third-round pick on Tuesday.

Vancouver capped the deadline Friday by shipping forward Curtis Lazar to the New Jersey Devils for a fourth-round draft pick in 2024.

“I know that I brought in Curtis here for his versatility, his character, his leadership,” Allvin said. “He’s been a good player for us, but we also recognize that we need more production out of our fourth line there. So Curtis was a decision we made here this morning,”

Lazar, 28, had three goals and two assists in 45 games after signing a three-year, US $3 million deal with the Canucks as a free agent in July.

Selected by the Senators with the 17th overall pick in 2013, the native of Salmon Arm, B.C., has registered 38 goals and 95 points in 449 regular-season games with Ottawa, Calgary, Buffalo, Boston and Vancouver. He’s added a goal and an assist in 24 playoff appearances.

The Canucks explored other options ahead of the trade deadline, but weren’t happy with what was available in terms of both acquiring players and shedding salary, Allvin said.

“At end of the day, we weren’t very close,” he said.

—Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

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