Do the Vancouver Canucks have enough star power in their prospects to sufficiently replace the Sedin twins?
The Vancouver Canucks have accumulated quality prospects through the trade market and the draft. This is undoubtedly the best pool of prospects this team has had in recent memory and it will continue to get better next year as the Canucks will look to get yet another top pick in the 2018 Entry Draft.
But in today’s NHL in which skaters peak in their mid-20s and stars like Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews emerge in their teen years, top prospects don’t have until age 25, 26 to make their NHL debuts.
Do the Canucks have these elite prospects who can contribute before long?
The truth is that the rebuild cannot carry on forever. Looking back to how the Edmonton Oilers were before the arrival of McDavid, we know that time isn’t the omnipotent answer for the development of young NHL players.
For the first time since the beginning of the Sedin era in Vancouver, the Canucks may have elite prospects who could turn out to be game-changers for many years to come.
We present to you Week 4, the conclusion of The Canuck Way 2017 Canucks Prospects Ranking. As we are taking a look at the most complete and elite prospects, let’s move away from the conventional look at the strengths and weaknesses to a more holistic analysis of these prospects.
The Canuck Way 2017 Canucks Prospects Ranking
Our TCW staff ranked all Canucks prospects. The criteria: whatever each writer thinks is important. Current position in the organization, talent, potential, and chance of NHL success. All prospects under 24 years of age were considered as long as they did not spend significant time in the NHL.
At No. 2, we take a look at the latest top prospect who has joined the Canucks organization, forward Elias Pettersson.
No. 2 C Elias Pettersson
Weight: 161 lbs
DOB: 1998-11-12 (Age 21)
Drafted: 5th Overall, 2017
2016-17 Stats: 43GP – 19G – 41PTS – 14PIM (Allsvenskan, Timra IK)
Selected fifth overall over the likes of Cody Glass, Casey Mittlestadt and Owen Tippet, Elias Pettersson is likely at least two years away from making the NHL. Pettersson has got to put on some more muscle to his 6-foot-2 frame so that he becomes more than just “wiry strong”.
Ideally, if he can put on 20 pounds without losing his skating agility, a 6-foot-2 frame at 180 pounds will be serviceable in the NHL. One of the reasons that other teams shied away from picking Pettersson earlier was that they were concerned that he wouldn’t be able to put on enough weight to be durable.
If Pettersson can’t put on weight, that will be a huge blow to the Canucks. That would be a big dent in the Sedin succession plan to replace Henrik and Daniel with Pettersson and Jonathan Dahlin. One Swedish duo for another, right?
Why do I start on such a negative note?
I just wanted to remind myself that Elias Pettersson may not turn out to be the next Pavel Datsyuk. That’s all.
Adding strength and weight is likely the only downfall to Pettersson’s game as an offensive centreman.
Dominating a man’s league as an 18-year-old
What about those comparisons to Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg? Elias Pettersson most likely won’t reach the heights of the Hall-of-Famers and two of the all-time greats, but he plays much the similar type of game on the ice.
In short, Pettersson is the personification of the modern NHL’s elite playmaker.
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First off, Pettersson’s hockey IQ rivals that of the all-time greats like Datsyuk and Henrik Sedin. His ability to read plays, stay patient and distribute the puck to dangerous areas is elite.
Without the puck on his stick, he turns into an elusive skater who sneaks his way into high-scoring areas to score. Pettersson’s decision-making with the puck on his stick is nearly perfect.
Pettersson’s playmaking is especially impressive because he can be patient with the puck even when skating at a very high speed.
Skating is another one of Pettersson’s strengths as he skates with strong strides and is fluid even at top-speed. His acceleration is very good as you will see on many of his breakaway opportunities.
Perhaps it is more fitting to compare Pettersson to Datsyuk than to the older Sedin because Pettersson has the Datsyuk-esque silky hands that never fails to impress, especially in one-on-one situations. Even at top speed, Pettersson’s puck control is impressive.Here’s the latest footage of Pettersson impersonating Datsyuk:
Here’s the latest footage of Pettersson impersonating Datsyuk:
Though primarily a playmaker, Pettersson is a threat with his strong wrist shot as well. Adding more muscle to his frame could result in added power on his shot, something that would make him an all-around offensive threat.
Fans were able to see Pettersson’s hot shot on display in person at the Canucks Prospects Showdown:
Bottom line, Pettersson has everything that one could ask for in the offensive skills department.
On the defensive side of things, Pettersson isn’t the second coming of Ryan Kesler to Vancouver, nor is he such a two-way threat that Adam Gaudette could turn out to be.
However, Pettersson’s speed and on-ice work ethic mean that he will be buzzing in the defensive zone to try to disrupt plays. With added bulk, he will be better able to control the boards and pressure opposing forwards more effectively.
But already the active stick and the lanky frame that Pettersson has means that he is not a liability on the ice at all defensively.
And when he does intercept the puck, watch out because he can burn the opposition with his speed.
After dominating Allsvenskan as an 18-year-old, Pettersson will play in the Swedish Hockey League, the top league in Sweden formerly known as the Swedish Elite League. He could end up being reunited with Dahlen this season, should Dahlen’s stint with Utica not materialize.
– 2017 TheCanuckWay Prospects Ranking Top 20 –
#3 – D Olli Juolevi
#4 – G Thatcher Demko
#5 – LW Jonathan Dahlen
#6 – RW Nikolay Goldobin
#7 – RW Kole Lind
#8 – C Adam Gaudette
#9 – RW Jake Virtanen
#10 – LW Jonah Gadjovich
#11 – D Jordan Subban
#12 – F William Lockwood
#13 – G Michael DiPietro
#14 – D Guillaume Brisebois
#15 – D Evan McEneny
#16 – F Petrus Palmu
#17 – D Jack Rathbone
#18 – D Jalen Chatfield
#19 – F Cole Cassels
#20 – D Kristoffer Gunnarsson
The Honourable Mentions
What I personally like the most about Pettersson is that he plays offence with confidence. He isn’t afraid to embarrass the opposing netminder and he isn’t scared of making mistakes when the stakes are high. He enjoys the spotlight.
It’s time that Vancouver had the offensive dynamo who loves to shine in the spotlight. It’s time that Vancouver got an Elias Pettersson.