Vancouver Canucks: Elias Pettersson will be a Calder Trophy contender in 2019

BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 28: Elias Pettersson
BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 28: Elias Pettersson /

The Swedish are coming! The Vancouver Canucks have the best player in the Swedish Hockey League and he looks primed to make a move to the NHL next season and will be one of the early favourites for the Calder trophy in 2019.

Coming out of the 2018 NHL entry draft, many Vancouver Canucks fans were asking the question why didn’t we take Cody Glass and who is Elias Pettersson? Nobody is asking who Elias Pettersson is anymore, everyone is asking about what he will be able to do at the NHL level.

Pettersson is coming off of a record breaking season in the SHL with the Vaxjo Lakers, a season that saw him score 24 goals and 32 assists for a total of 56 points in only 44 games. Pettersson won the season scoring race, even though he played five games less than runner up Ryan Lasch, who had 55 points.

Not only did Pettersson have a great season but he followed it up with a playoff performance that earned him the most valuable player in the SHL playoffs. He scored 19 points in 13 SHL playoff games, leading his Lakers to their second SHL championship in four years.

Future Considerations

The Canucks will have a young team next year, and with the loss of Henrik and Daniel Sedin there will be spots to fill. Pettersson will have all the opportunity in the world to make a difference for the Vancouver Canucks.

The power play is where he will have the best chance to shine, Pettersson has elite skills when controlling the puck and has a shot that looks to be NHL ready.

One of the best things about Pettersson is where he contributes on the powerplay. Whether you were watching him play in the SHL or at the World Juniors there was one thing that was common, Pettersson on the right side of a power play.

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The first unit power play will look very different next season without the twins, Pettersson will likely be in his comfort zone and be setting up the play from the right side. I’m certain he will be ecstatic when he makes a cross ice pass onto the tape ofBrock Boeser.

Pass it to Boeser will be learnt early by Pettersson, as long as Alexander Edler isn’t doing too much teaching.

Expectations to become reality

So what can we expect next year?

Pettersson could enter into the NHL and blow away expectations similar to the first season of Boeser. All signs are pointing into that direction, Pettersson already has many skills that would be considered elite compared to NHL players.

Speed is a key for Pettersson, he flew by Swedish Hockey League opponents with ease all year long. It will be interesting to see Pettersson skate alongside pros in the upcoming World Championships which begin on May fourth.

There will be plenty of competition next year for the Calder trophy: Andrei Svechnikov, Filip Zadina, Rasmus DahlinHenrik Borgstrom, Eeli Tolvanen and Brady Tkachuk.

All these players will rival Pettersson next year but from what he has already accomplished in the SHL, World Juniors and what he will accomplish at the World Championships will give him a confidence that some of these other rookies may not have.

The hype is real for Pettersson and hype can be a good thing, with so much changeover coming to this Canucks lineup there will be a spot for him to play his game and not conform to a spot that he doesn’t fit into.

Points will help Mathew Barzal win the Calder this season, he had an opportunity to play with great linemates and if Pettersson is giving an opportunity on the power play with a sniper like Boeser and a net front presence like Bo Horvat he will get his points. Pettersson will also create his own offense with his intelligent and creative way of play.

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I’m not going to come out and guarantee anything about Pettersson but I do think that with his body of work it seems that he is ahead of the likes of Zadina, Svechnikov or Tkachuk when talking about jumping into a league where you play against men that are the best players in the world.