In Vancouver right now, there are a few things people love to talk endlessly about. There is the weather, the prices of homes, how transit could be improved and of course the fact that Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes have not signed new contracts with the Vancouver Canucks.
We are less than a week before training camp opens in Abbotsford and both the franchise cornerstones have not been signed to their second contracts.
The Canucks did have a busy offseason which saw them make a number of acquisitions by trade and free agency.
General manager Jim Benning ticked off the needs of a third line centre, a top six forward, help on defence, depth and a backup for Thatcher Demko. However, the two biggest priorities still remain unfinished.
For the past few weeks (Or even months, to be honest.) there hasn’t been much talk about Pettersson and Hughes’ contracts.
However, Pettersson has shared that he’s back in Vancouver on his Instagram story.
Rick Dhaliwal of Donnie and Dhali talked about their contract statuses of the Canucks Conversation Podcast with Chris Faber and David Quadrelli of Canucks Army on Friday.
He said that the deals weren’t close and the pressure could grow this week.
"“As right now ,every bit of info I have, everyone I have talked to today, they are not close,” said Dhaliwal. “I think the pressure point is the day before training camp, that’s what I’ve been told by a lot of people. They’re difficult deals. These two are incredible players, first of all. Second of all, they got a tremendous amount of points in their entry level deals. Points per game is one of the biggest parameters agents when they get new contracts for their clients and points per game for Hughes and Pettersson are very good for young players. They are obviously franchise players.”"
TSN insider Darren Dreger also spoke about the two unsigned players on Friday’s Sekeres and Price show.
"“This is a slow play by Jim Benning, ownership and the Vancouver Canucks,” said Dreger. “Term is important here. I’m sure the Vancouver Canucks would love both of those guys in a two to three year range but players aren’t comfortable with that. Long term isn’t going to work for both of them largely due to the cap situation. From a players standpoint, the sweet spot is in a four to six year range. I don’t feel like the conversations I had today are encouraging that either one of those guys is going to be in camp. “"
As of now, the situation doesn’t look promising.
With training camp, right around the corner fans on social media are feeling restless that Pettersson and Hughes have not been signed yet and have been speculating on what kind of money and term both players will get.
It is a bit concerning that the two Canucks stars haven’t been signed yet and it definitely wouldn’t look good if one or both players miss training camp or worse the start of the season.
However, it is common for RFAs to go into September without being signed.
Bo Horvat wasn’t signed until the eighth of September in 2017 when he signed his six-year contract. Brock Boeser didn’t sign his bridge deal until September 16 of 2019. That was a day after training camp ended and right before the Canucks played a preseason game against the Calgary Flames in Victoria.
Pettersson and Hughes aren’t the only notable RFAs still unsigned. At the time of this writing, Kirill Kaprizov of the Minnesota Wild, Brady Tkachuk of the Ottawa Senators and Rasmus Dahlin of the Buffalo Sabres still need new contracts and it’s also quiet on their fronts.
“There is no animosity that I have heard of and I believe both sides want to get it done,” said Dhaliwal. “It’s just taking time because these are hard deals.”
Any day now, things could change with one phone call. It’s OK to feel a bit worried that Pettersson and Hughes aren’t signed to new deals but hopefully they will get done within the next next few days or so.
Both Pettersson and Hughes are important to the Canucks and they wouldn’t want to miss camp. It’s very likely that one or two of them will holdout similar to what William Nylander did in 2018.
Canucks fans shouldn’t lose sleep over this because it will get done, it just takes time. Once it gets done, Canucks Twitter will find something else to lose their minds over like they always do.