Elias Pettersson is just 21years old but has established himself as a top center in the NHL. Here is why he is due for a huge 2020-21 season.
Elias Pettersson has a lot of natural talent but what makes him so special is his dedication to getting better. He is the definition of being a “student of the game” and with the extra-long off-season, it will play a huge role in his improvement as a player.
After winning the Calder Trophy in his rookie season, Pettersson didn’t rest on his laurels. He took everything he learned from his first season and made sure to get better for the next one. The big thing he took away from a full NHL season is how physically draining it is near the end. That summer, he worked hard on his conditioning and increasing the strength in his legs.
In the 2019-20 regular season, he put up the same amount of points (66) but in three fewer games. He was stronger and his production was much more consistent with his longest pointless streak being just 2 games long.
He showed even more improvement when the postseason rolled around. After almost five months off, the Vancouver Canucks were in the playoffs and played three rounds of postseason hockey. Pettersson dominated, putting up 18 points in 17 games and he led all of the Canucks in playoff goals (7).
If you look at all the great players in the league, they are never satisfied with where they are. Sidney Crosby is a prime example of this as he comes back after every summer with a new skill added to his arsenal. Pettersson has that same itch, the one that pushed him to constantly get better. Before the 2019-20 season, he told reporters about his summer training.
“I’ve been working out this summer a lot just to get better, get stronger and be as prepared as possible,” Pettersson said in September of last year, per Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre. “I want to get better every day and become a better player every day.
This is the kind of mentality that separates the good players from the great. In the playoffs, we saw Pettersson’s development first-hand. He is well-known for his lethal shot but he is also getting better at being a playmaker as well as and playing a physical game. He’s become a more complete offensive player and he showed that he isn’t afraid to crush players along the boards and fight for loose pucks.
Armed with first-hand knowledge of what a deep playoff run looks like, Pettersson is going to come into the 2020-2021 season in a big way. Since he has so much time to prepare with this extended offseason, I expect nothing but greatness coming from him next season.