Before his new position with the Vancouver Canucks became verified by multiple sources, Pittsburgh Penguins Assistant General Manager Patrik Allvin could be seen shaking an inordinate number of hands upstairs at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh on Tuesday evening. His Penguins were staging a third-period comeback victory against the Arizona Coyotes but that wasn’t the reason for the excitement.
This was more, ‘your wife just gave birth to your first child’, ‘you just won the ‘Powerball’ jackpot’, or ‘you just became the 2nd European General Manager in the National Hockey League’ type of handshakes.
Allvin will be the 12th general manager in Vancouver Canucks history.
The Columbus Blue Jackets Jarmo Kekalainen came first, accepting his current gig in February of 2013. Kekalainen is Finnish, Allvin is Swedish.
NHL Central Scouting’s top man in Europe described him as “a very dedicated and thorough scout and a friendly and enjoyable person to be around.”
Minnesota Wild General Manager Bill Guerin told Vancouver Hockey Now (VHN) essentially the same thing during our preview of the hiring on Sunday. In fact, Guerin was emphatic. The two worked together for most of eight years under then Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford, the man now doing the hiring in Vancouver as President of Hockey Operations.
“He’s definitely one of my favourite people in all of hockey, I mean I worked closely with Patrik,” Guerin said. “He knows the amateur side of things, he knows the development side of things, he’s been an assistant GM now for a few years, so he’s learned that. He’s done pretty much everything there is to do and to learn about the business.”
Rutherford told VHN the same thing on Saturday night. “He’s definitely ready,” Rutherford said after listing off all of the management skills Allvin had mastered.
“It’s all about working together and collaborating and I loved working with him every day,” Guerin added. “He’s got a great handle obviously on the European market and was influential in bringing a lot of European free agents to Pittsburgh.”
Allvin was briefly promoted to interim general manager after Rutherford departed in January of 2021. He ran the club until Ron Hextall was hired as the permanent Pittsburgh GM. The club he’s been helping to run is a pleasant surprise, 27-10-and-5 for 59 points and 2nd place in the NHL’s Metropolitan Division. The team has won 17 of their last 19 games.
Allvin, a native of Leksand in the south central portion of Sweden, 270 km northwest of Stockholm, grew up in the sport and eventually played his way to North America in 1995 where he joined the Atlanta Knights of the old ‘triple-A’ International Hockey League (IHL). He played 110 of his 115 games at the ECHL level.
After playing he returned home to become a scout.
At one point Allvin was Rutherford’s Director of European Scouting, and four years later promoted to Director of Amateur Scouting. As in, in charge of all of it. For the first year on that job, Allvin essentially commuted back and forth between the United States to Sweden.
“He must have gone back and forth 25 times that season, it was incredible,” Guerin said.
Eventually his family moved to Pennsylvania. Soon they’ll be moving to British Columbia.