According to a report from Sportsnet hockey insider John Shannon, top prospect Elias Pettersson is expected to sign an entry-level contract with the Vancouver Canucks at the conclusion of the 2018 IIHF World Championships this weekend.
Canuck source confirms that following the IIHF World Championships, Blue chip prospect Elias Pettersson is expected to sign with the Canucks.— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) May 17, 2018
This flies in the fact of a report yesterday from TSN 1040’s Matt Sekeres, who maintains that Pettersson will remain in Sweden for another season.
We are hearing rumblings that #Canucks super prospect Elias Pettersson may spend another year in Sweden with Vaxjo where he won a championship and MVP honours this season. We'll discuss off the top of our show at 3 pm, hear from Swedish hockey insider @MikeZanier— Matthew Sekeres (@mattsekeres) May 16, 2018
For what it’s worth, Canucks insider Rick Dhaliwal of Sportsnet 650 also echoed Shannon’s report.
This is consistent with what I have been hearing last 2 weeks - not Pettersson returning to Sweden. https://t.co/rtDeuUwWZF— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) May 17, 2018
Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who knows...
What is clear is that all the “will he or won’t he” hype surrounding Pettersson will not subside until he either signs his deal or announces that he’s returning to Sweden for 2018-19. As Canucks fans, we’re hoping it’s the former.
Of course, Pettersson’s World Championship tournament is over after suffering a thumb injury this past Sunday in a game against Switzerland. Pettersson’s Swedish squad has persevered without him in the lineup and appears to be on track for a medal finish in Denmark. The way in which Pettersson suffered his injury is fitting given the skill he has and the way he plays the game. While breaking in one on one with Swiss goalie Leonardo Genoni, Pettersson made a quick backhand/forehand fake to beat Genoni but ended up jamming his hand (and the puck) against the post.
Check it out:
Ouch. That’s gotta hurt. Dhaliwal also confirmed that Pettersson’s thumb is in fact broken and that the youngster returned to his native Sweden for surgery.
Elias Pettersson has left Denmark at the World's, he is back in Sweden and waiting for surgery any day on his cracked thumb. #Canucks— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) May 16, 2018
It’s not expected that the injury and recovery will affect Pettersson’s status for the 2018-19 season, which should come as a HUGE relief to Canucks fans. Pettersson is one of the most prized prospects in all of hockey following a truly historic season with the SHL’s Vaxjo Lakers. The 19 year old’s 2017-18 accomplishments are well publicized:
- SHL Best Plus/Minus (+27)
- SHL Champion
- SHL Forward of the Year
- SHL Most Goals by Junior (24)
- SHL Most Points (56)
- SHL Most Points by Junior (56)
- SHL Most Valuable Player
- SHL Playoffs MVP (Stefan Liv Memorial Trophy)
- SHL Rookie of the Year
- U20 WJC Silver Medal
More than that Pettersson broke a 43 year old SHL record held by legendary Swedish forward Kent Nillson for the most points ever by a junior aged (under 20). Pettersson ended the season with 56 points in 44 games, besting Nillson’s 53 points in 36 games back in 1975-76.
All of this is to say… Pettersson has nothing left to prove in the SHL. He thoroughly dominated the league as a teenager and looks poised to make his transition to North America with either the Canucks or their AHL affiliate Utica Comets.
If in fact Pettersson inks his ELC with the Canucks this weekend and commits to playing next season in Vancouver, expect him to be amongst the frontrunners in early 2018-19 Calder Trophy predictions.
Get excited, Canucks fans. The future has (almost) arrived. I mean… come on: