Vancouver Canucks: Elias Pettersson sets SHL scoring record

Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images
Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images /

2017 first-round pick Elias Pettersson is giving Vancouver Canucks fans a lot to be excited about 

The Vancouver Canucks have been searching for a franchise center for a while. Sure, Henrik Sedin has had a Hall of Fame career. Bo Horvat is living up to his potential as well. But Sedin is getting old and the latter needs help. Elias Pettersson figures to be a part of the solution to this problem.

Since drafting him with the fifth-overall pick of the 2017 draft, the Swedish center has been very impressive. Recently, Pettersson broke the single-season SHL record for most points by a player under 20-years-old. With 23 goals and 32 assists (55 points) in 43 games, he has passed Kent Nilsson’s record of 54 points in 1975-76.

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Anytime you outproduce Peter Forsberg in anything, you’re on pace to be an extremely good player. Pettersson is doing exactly that. He seems to be ready to come over to North America and could make an impact on the Canucks as soon as next season.

However, Vancouver shouldn’t be rushing Pettersson. He’s a critical part of their rebuild. The Canucks don’t have any other top-tier center prospects. Pettersson’s development needs to be the focus moving forward. If that means he has to spend a year or two with the Canucks’ AHL affiliate Utica Comets, so be it.

Pettersson has yet to sign his entry-level contract. But Canucks fans shouldn’t worry. After all, he’s not even in North America yet. It would be sort of pointless to sign him to his ELC only to see it slide for two years overseas.

When will Vancouver be able to sign him? Likely after Pettersson’s season ends. His team, Växjö Lakers HC, are currently in first place in the SHL. Their final regular season game is on Saturday, March 10. The playoffs begin on Monday, March 12. This means the postseason will likely be wrapped up around the end of March, depending on how long the postseason goes.

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You can assume the Canucks will be in touch with Pettersson the moment his team is either eliminated or named champions. The 2017 first-round pick appears ready to take the next step and Vancouver fans need more players to be excited about.