The Vancouver Canucks’ first selection from the 2017 NHL Entry Draft won’t attend training camp nor sign an entry-level deal as he heads back to play in Sweden.
For those who were hoping that we’d see Vancouver Canucks prospect Elias Pettersson in the NHL immediately, those dreams appeared to be dashed a couple of days ago.
Pettersson was drafted fifth-overall in the 2017 draft, widely projected to be the top centre of the team’s future. But as is the case with most Canuck draft picks, Pettersson won’t be rushed into development.
News 1130’s Rick Dhaliwal reported that Pettersson has chosen to go back to Sweden and will not be attending Canucks training camp:
Pettersson also won’t be signing his entry-level deal, per Dhaliwal:
The news shouldn’t surprise anybody, as Pettersson himself admitted that he wasn’t ready for the pros shortly after being drafted. The 2017 NHL draft was considered one of the weakest in recent memory, hence why a lot of the prospects aren’t NHL ready.
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Pettersson joins a long list of Canucks’ first rounders that didn’t break into the NHL right away.
We are also waiting on Jake Virtanen, who was drafted three years ago and has only played 65 games up until this point.
This is definitely the smart path for Pettersson.
The 6-foot-2, 165-pound centre has to add on a ton of more weight before he turns pro, so heading back to Sweden gives him the opportunity to put on more size.
So don’t worry, Canucks fans. It’s just standard procedure for many European draftees to head back home so they can better prepare themselves for the NHL. As much as you may want to see him in a Vancouver Canucks jersey in 2017-18, Elias Pettersson is making the right move in staying patient with himself.