Saying that it has been a whirlwind of a week for the Vancouver Canucks’ 2024 draft class is about as veracious as Daniel Sedin at the 2011 All-Star shooting accuracy competition. 

In the past seven days, the Canucks’ five draft picks have heard their names called on draft day, been on the ice with a development staff that has over 5000 games of NHL experience and built new relationships with their fellow prospects. 

It’s been a whirlwind, but these new Canucks prospects are loving every minute of it. 

“I was just trying to absorb all the information that they could give me,” said Canucks’ sixth-round pick Parker Alcos. “These coaches have played thousands of games in the NHL and their knowledge is just a great tool that I can use.” 

At 6’3” and 180 pounds, Alcos has the size that you want in a stay-at-home, right-shot defenceman. He took everything he could from the on-ice work that he did with the Canucks development team, but it was more of a personal touch that strikes him as the big takeaway from his first week in the Canucks organization. 

“I feel like all the coaches brought something, but Mike Komisarek came with open arms and was just honest and respectful, which is what stuck out to me,” said Alcos. 

Relationship building was a focus from Komisarek and Mikael Samuelsson for the week and the two made sure to answer any and all questions that the prospects had for them. This week was also about letting these kids know that there is a full development team beside them as the youngsters take steps toward becoming NHLers. 

After leading all OHL rookies in goals last season, Riley Patterson was selected in the fourth round of the 2024 NHL Entry Draft and is ecstatic to have an NHL development team on his side for his second year in the OHL. 

“Having a development coach, I think I'm going to do more reaching out than they are for sure,” said Patterson. “I understand the tools are there and that's what they're there for. They want to help you.” 

“Through the summer and throughout next year, I'll be reaching out to them and also trying to work with a mental coach and one for nutrition. I think I'm going to try to use all the elements and tools the Canucks have to the best of my ability. That's the best way to develop and I want to eventually play in the NHL, so I'm going to use everything that I can.”

Both Patterson and Alcos mentioned that they were nervous coming into camp but that the first few days helped open everyone up so they could form relationships with their fellow Canucks prospects.

Wednesday night brought an interesting evening as the players took part in an improv performance. This helped the group let their guard down and begin to have fun together.

“On Wednesday, we did improv together. That was a huge step for us all,” said Patterson. “We were all laughing together and embarrassing ourselves in front of each other. That brought us much closer together. By the end of the week, everyone is chatting with each other and all that.”

This year saw much fewer prospects than we have seen in the past years of Canucks development camps. Samuelsson and Komisarek worked with Canucks Assistant General Manager Cammi Granato throughout the year to create a camp that had every drill be a three or four-to-one player-to-coach ratio.

“It is pretty special, and your ears are definitely wide open throughout the time here because anything the coaches say, you definitely want to pay attention and try to use in your game,” said Patterson.

“With me, we were talking a lot about puck protection, as well as time for engagement and separation. That’s a specific thing that I can continue to improve on. It was nice to focus on that this week and just understand ways to use my body.”

Now, the prospects head back home to continue with their offseason. They were able to build the foundation for relationships with the Canucks staff, players, and coaches. Those relationships will be huge over the coming years as these players take the necessary steps to achieve their goal of becoming NHL players.

This is just the first step for the Canucks' 2024 draft class. There is a long road ahead of them, but they now know that they have the support of Samuelsson, Komisarek, the Sedins, and every other person in the organization.

“It’s all been so nice and all the stuff we’ve done has just flown by,” said Patterson. “It's probably been the best two weeks of my life.”

Now that the whirlwind has passed, the work is set to begin. These prospects will feel the support on every step of their young hockey journeys and continue to work so that they can one day throw on the same jersey that they were given on draft day but do it in front of a sold-out crowd at Rogers Arena.