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 Abbotsford Canucks

Building Blue: Arturs Silovs Continues to Mature as a Goaltender and a Person

April 4, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Abbotsford Canucks News Release

Drenched in sweat after a hard practice at Rogers Arena, Arturs Silovs sat down at his stall in the locker room and took a few seconds to catch his breath before taking off his gear to chat with the Vancouver media.

"Give the guy a minute," was yelled from a few stalls over as Silovs cracked a sly smirk.

It is one of those moments where you are not just a call-up anymore, but instead, a teammate.

The young goaltender has worked hard to get to the NHL and has taken advantage of all his experiences since arriving in North America as an 18-year-old in the summer of 2019.

Now, at just 23 years old, Vancouver Canucks' goaltender Silovs' mindset in developing his game has gifted him the opportunity to see early success in his burgeoning hockey career.

You need to have a strong work ethic to be a successful NHL contributor, but Silovs has learned at an early age that work ethic does not directly translate into success.

"Your work ethic is important, but you have to understand what you're working on because work ethic can't really improve you if you aren't led where to go," said Silovs.

"The biggest thing is having a goal of what you are trying to achieve, and we call that an ideal goal or a picture of yourself. Everyone's goal is different, and you have to find it in yourself. It's a tough journey. That's something we're often talking about with the goalie coaches."

Silovs has bought into the goaltending program and the Canucks are pleased with how the young goaltender is committing to the development path that has been laid out for him.

It all starts with Director of Goaltending Ian Clark at the NHL level, but it is a tight bond between Clark and Goaltending Development Coach and AHL Goaltending Coach Marko Torenius. The two work well together and there's plenty of communication between Clark and Torenius so that the Canucks can get the best out of all of their prospects.

Silovs currently sits at the front of the line of goalie prospects that includes: Nikita Tolopilo (AHL), Aku Koskenvuo (NCAA), and Ty Young (WHL).

"For a goaltender, especially a 23-year-old that came in last year and played five games at the NHL level and then going to the World Championship, it's a high-pressure tournament. And then being the guy down in Abbotsford, right from the start of the year, to now get some NHL games. It is huge for his development and getting to work with Clarkie in NHL practices. I mean, you got to think his development has just increased over the last I think the last six or seven months," said Head Coach Rick Tocchet.

Even though Tocchet does not claim to be a goalie guy, he notices growth in Silovs' game. Tocchet started Silovs five times last season and sees an even calmer goaltender this season. The maturity Silovs plays with this season which is a sign of development working well with players in their early twenties.

"You can tell Clarkie has been working with him," said Tocchet. "He's not sliding all over the place. He's not flopping, he is there for the second shot. You can tell. That is when you know the goalie is listening and you've got a mature goalie - when he is there for the second shot and he's not out of the net."

Silovs believes that this stint in the NHL is beneficial for him at this point in his career. The chance to face NHL shots in practice is extremely important for a goaltender on the brink of making the jump. He likes that the bar is raised at this level in both games and practice.

"Shots are more accurate, have more speed, and overall, everything is more demanding," said Silovs. "At every level, everyone tries their best but here you have to get out of yourself more and more, because there's more pressure. All combining, I am finding that extra depth, which I probably would not achieve without adding pressure."

"I think it's great just getting experience and getting into games. I'm understanding that I can play at this level. And I have to work more to be better, and better at this level. But I think it is a good start."

This season feels like the lights are a little less bright for Silovs. He feels more comfortable in an NHL locker room and believes he has made improvements on the ice about being able to play a calmer game in the crease.

Silovs may only be up with the big club until the return of Thatcher Demko from injury, but that also sets him up to head into the AHL playoffs with confidence from his strong play at the NHL level.

"It's exciting because playoff time is always the time you can show that you can do something," said Silovs about the upcoming AHL playoffs. "It has not been an easy year for us down there in Abbotsford. So, I figure that it is a great opportunity to show what we can do and just show something more."

The youngster will continue to be a sponge while he is up in the NHL and is excited to get into the playoffs with the Abbotsford Canucks in the coming weeks.

Silovs was selected by the Canucks in the sixth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft and moved to North America from Latvia to give himself the best chance to develop.

He played a full season in the OHL with the Barrie Colts before coming to the Canucks during the COVID season. During the 2021-22 season, Silovs split time between the Abbotsford Canucks and the Trois-Rivières Lions in the ECHL.

He then took over as the starter for Abbotsford during the 2022-23 season and played in 44 games during the regular season. On top of those AHL games, Silovs made five starts for Rick Tocchet and the Vancouver Canucks late in the year.

He then went on to play for Latvia in the 2023 World Championships and played so well that he was named MVP of the tournament.

For now, it is all about growth, and Silovs continues to impress with how he attacks every day.

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