Jiří Patera makes for an intriguing addition to the Canucks

The Canucks' signing of goalie Jiří Patera might not have made the headlines in Vancouver, but he has some upside and is someone to keep an eye on.
Vegas Golden Knights v Florida Panthers
Vegas Golden Knights v Florida Panthers / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

While some might make the case that the beginning of free agency could have gone better for the Vancouver Canucks, there was still plenty to like. In particular, the additions of Jake DeBrusk and Vincent Desharnais.

However, while not grabbing nearly as many headlines and attention, we also liked the Canucks' signing of Jiří Patera. Confirmed by the team via a press release, the goalie agreed terms on a two-year, two-way deal.

As per Cap Friendly, the deal is worth the league minimum of $775,000 at the NHL level per season and $400,000 at the AHL level. The question is, what does Patera bring to the Canucks organisation?

An intriguing Group 6 free agent

Well to begin with, the 25-year-old was one of this year's more interesting Group 6 free agents. For clarity with Group Six free agents who are goaltenders specifically, they must have played less than 28 career NHL games with more than 30 minutes of ice time, while also having completed three or more professional seasons. (This can include the NHL, the minor leagues, and European professional leagues.)

At first glance of Patera's stats, we can appreciate if Canucks fans are underwhelmed. After all, in eight career games at the NHL level for the Vegas Golden Knights -- including seven starts -- he has a 3-3-1 record, together with a .902 save percentage and 3.57 Goals Against Average (GAA).

A much better sample size comes when you take a look at the Czech Republic native's stats during his four seasons with the Knights' AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights. In 85 combined games he produced a .907 save percentage and 2.92 GAA, although it should be added his record was decidedly average at 37-40-6.

Prior to this, Patera played two seasons in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings. During his time there he went 46-32-9 in 89 games, in the process recording a .913 save percentage and 2.95 GAA.

A goalie project with solid upside

At 6 foot 2 and 209 pounds, the 2017 sixth round draft pick has decent size along with the stamina to be a number one goalie, not that this should be required with the Canucks. Thatcher Demko is ingrained as the main starter, meaning he will be competing with Arturs Silovs for the backup role.

(For what it's worth, Silovs has yet to agree to the Canucks' restricted free agent qualifying offer. However, this is most likely just due to his camp working on a longer-term extension with the organisation.)

Patera has developed his puck-stopping and in general has progressed well, thanks to his excellent work-ethic. He has decent upside, but does have to continue working to become more consistent.

4 takeaways from the beginning of free agency for the Canucks. 4 takeaways from the beginning of free agency for the Canucks. dark. Next

As a final note, Patera has invaluable experience from playing internationally at various levels for the Czech Republic, including the World Junior Championship in 2019. Overall, while we appreciate there are no guarantees with how his NHL career will pan out, he's still someone who is worth keeping an eye on if you're a Canucks fan.

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