The Vancouver Canucks might have missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season, but there was one reason why hope in this market has been restored after years of futility.
That reason is Elias Pettersson.
The reigning Calder Trophy champion exploded onto the scene with 10 goals in 10 games, and had a first half that put him some incredibly elite company. His production dwindled as teams started to game plan for him, but it’s evident that the Canucks now have an elite first-line centre to build around in the years to come.
It’s now been two and a half months since Pettersson hit the ice with the Canucks. With still more than two months until the puck drops on the regular season, let’s remind ourselves just how good Pettersson is by looking at ten of his best moments from the 2018-19 season.
Kicks Off NHL Career With a Bang
After breaking records in the SHL, Pettersson came to the Canucks engulfed in a sea of hype. He didn’t disappoint early with a highlight-reel goal and an assist during his first NHL games.
It only took two NHL games for Mike Smith and the Calgary Flames to start having nightmares about Pettersson. The Canucks faced the Flames in Calgary for Pettersson’s second NHL game, and the young star once again burned them with two goals and an assist.
The Death Stare
Even though he’d already endeared himself to fans with his play on the ice. Pettersson was beginning to build a reputation for taking no bullshit, even from reporters.
Following his concussion, a reporter asked Pettersson if the physicality of the NHL made him want to go back to Sweden. Pettersson was completely unwilling to answer the question, which sparked his infamous death stare.
Wild N’ Out Against Minny
After the five-game point streak to begin his career was snapped against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Pettersson returned to his dominant self the next night against Minnesota.
He flashed his patented one-timer for his first tally of the game, but brought fans out of their seats once again with a breakaway goal which sealed the win for Vancouver.
Exhilarating match against the Avs
In the most exciting game of the latest Canucks season, Pettersson and Brock Boeser began to flash their budding chemistry in a fast-paced, back and forth affair. Dekey Pete posted five points on the night, including an insane bank pass to Boeser, the game-tying goal, and a primary assist on the game-winning goal.
Motown Slapper & the 10-goal mark
If the rest of the NHL wasn’t aware of Pettersson yet, this is the moment when everyone started to notice him.
Ten goals in your first ten NHL games is no small feat. Not only did Pettersson accomplish that, but he scored a goal eerily similar to one scored by Wayne Gretzky.
No-look pass to Boeser
In one of the defining moments of his brilliant rookie season, Pettersson made one of the plays of the year when he completed this no-look pass to Boeser, resulting in a goal.
John Shorthouse summed it up best mere seconds after the goal when he said “what a pass.”
First Career Penalty Shot
There was just a few too many moves for Pekka Rinne to keep up with this brilliant deke.
Pettersson and Boeser Annihilate St. Louis
Before the St. Louis Blues completed one of the craziest turnaround in NHL history, they were a pretty bad team. Other than fights in practice, there might not have been a lower moment then this afternoon matinee against the Canucks.
During the contest, Boeser scored a hat trick and Pettersson had his second-career five point game.
Hat Trick Against Ottawa
This was one of my personal favourites from the list. Although rookie goaltender Marcus Hogberg put on a brilliant 41-save effort, Pettersson was able to put the puck past him three times.
That overtime shift with Boeser was a thing of absolute beauty. Before the goal, Pettersson rang a feed from Boeser right off the post. They nearly broke in on another odd-man rush right after that before that was thwarted. Finally, on the same shift, Pettersson made his shot count, burying the puck for the game-winner and his first-career hat trick.
The Shootout Beauty
Re-read the blurb about Pettersson’s shootout goal, and apply it to Mackenzie Blackwood here.
Sets Franchise Record for Points by a Rookie
If it wasn’t for that scary back injury, Boeser likely would have broken Bure’s franchise record in the year previous. Alas, even with injuries, Pettersson was able to set the record with ten games left in the season.
Haven’t had enough Pettersson highlights yet? Of course you haven’t, so feel free to watch this uplifting mash-up of his best moments.
Summer is great and all, but like many Canucks fans, I’m pretty stoked for the calendar to flip to October.