Vancouver Canucks All-Star rookie Elias Pettersson and goaltender Jacob Markstrom have been vital for the club’s success this season. However, which player will go down as this season’s MVP?
Elias Pettersson has been a major highlight of the season for the Vancouver Canucks this season. No one predicted this much success this soon from the 20-year-old. From scoring his first goal on his very first shot, to scoring ten goals in ten games, to highlight reel play after highlight reel play, he has been the team’s best performer outside of the net.
Pettersson has achieved 54 points over 51 games played and has missed 11 games due to injuries. He leads all rookie skaters in points by 20, goals by nine, and assists by two, all with playing fewer games than the next highest scoring rookies.
We can definitely say Pettersson has greatly exceeded all expectations set for him at the beginning of the season, and there is no certainty on where his ceiling ends.
Pettersson has undoubtedly been the best scoring forward on the team, being fairly consistent night in and night out and has been praised for his play both away from the puck and in the defensive zone. He has also drawn many comparisons throughout the season to some pretty elite players. Wayne Gretzky himself stated that Pettersson reminds him of himself.
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Then there is Jacob Markstrom, who started the year inconsistently but started to improve his play in December and hasn’t looked back since. He has finally taken over as the undeniable starter for the Canucks, a role that management hoped he would one day reach when they traded for him back in 2014.
Over 46 games played, Markstrom has helped the club achieve a 23-18-7 record, compared to the record of 3-10-1 without him. Throughout the recent month, the Canucks have struggled to have a consistent back-up due to injuries to Thatcher Demko, a waiver claim affecting their acquisition of Mike McKenna, and not having goalies signed to NHL contracts.
Since December 9th, Markstrom has a record of 13-9-4 and averaged a GAA of 2.28 and a .922 SV%.
Markstrom has had more of an impact on the club’s record and has by far been the Canucks’ best option in goal this season, with five goalies starting games this season — none of them playing near the level of Markstrom.
My personal opinion, however, is that Pettersson is this season’s MVP as of right now. The rookie has made such an impact much earlier than expected and has already set records after coming off an inimitable campaign in the SHL last season. He is the Calder favourite so far this year and has won rookie of the month two out of the four possible months.
In a season predicted to be one of the club’s worst in decades, players such as Pettersson and Markstrom have shown both fans and media alike that this club is in a much better situation than they had originally thought. Who do you think is the Canucks’ MVP for this season? Let me know in the comments!