Elias Pettersson accused of over-blowing his knee injury

There appears to be contradictory versions of how severe Elias Pettersson's knee injury was, at least according to one prominent member of the hockey media.
Vancouver Canucks v Edmonton Oilers - Game Four
Vancouver Canucks v Edmonton Oilers - Game Four / Codie McLachlan/GettyImages

When Elias Pettersson agreed a eight-year, $92.8 million deal with the Vancouver Canucks at the beginning of March, it was taken as confirmation that the two sides were on the same page. Now though, you have to wonder if this is actually the case.

During his end of season presser, Pettersson said he had been dealing with a knee injury since January. In addition, that the longer it went on, the more pain he felt.

Meanwhile, Canucks coach Rick Tocchet noted the 25-year-old had been dealing with tendinitis. Most importantly though, that it was the opinion of the team that he was fine and they didn't need to shut him down.

The different clarifications of what Pettersson was dealing with, were undoubtedly interesting. Now though, we apparently have more of an idea on just how differently the Canucks perceived the whole situation.

Canucks shocked by Pettersson

According to Frank Seravalli of the Daily Faceoff, the Canucks were actually shocked to hear the Sweden native blame the knee injury as part of the reason for why his production dipped around the halfway point of the season. During an appearance last Friday on The Sekeres & Price Show, Seravalli said the Canucks believed the injury was overblown.

Certainly it does leave plenty of media and Canucks fans alike curious, about what exactly is going on? Why is there such an apparent disconnect between Pettersson and the organisation?

What we do know, is that the 2017 fifth overall draft pick did see a drop in his productivity around the time the knee issue occurred. Consider that prior to the All-Star Break he had recorded 64 points in 49 games, putting him on course to surpass his career high of 102 points set last season.

However, from this point onwards Pettersson then produced just another 25 points in the final 33 games of the regular season. Add in just six points in 13 playoff games and, fair or not, his subpar performances proved to be one of the main reasons the Canucks fell to the Edmonton Oilers in the second round.

Pettersson's agent puts his two cents worth in

There will of course be those, who are disappointed by how things played out in 2023-24 with the four-time NHL All-Star. If you're in that camp, recent comments by his agent probably won't have helped.

As per Patrick Johnston of The Province, Pettersson's agent J.T. Barry claimed last week that the player wasn't making any excuses. Rather, that he was just being honest about his injury.

The concern with all this though, is that appears one side isn't being entirely honest about what went down. In theory, either Pettersson is exaggerating how serious his knee issue was, or the Canucks are playing down how bad it was.

Canucks have invested too much to risk overlooking an injury

Given the size and length of the contract the Canucks gave to the 2018-19 Calder Trophy winner, it would be our educated guess that it's not the organisation being untruthful here. There's no way they would risk his injury turning into a long-term problem, with how much they were prepared to invest in him.

One other possibility is that Pettersson just didn't tell the Canucks how bad his knee issue was, which would be worrying in its own right. Why would he risk his future in the game by keeping quiet about an injury which could get worse, and if he did decide to do this, why suddenly blurt it out once the season was over?

In our humble opinion, this is more likely a case of Pettersson not responding well to the criticism he received once his form started to dip. His pride was hurt, and he was indeed looking for a way to explain what happened.

Ice, Ice, Baby: Canucks will get new ice for next season. Ice, Ice, Baby: Canucks will get new ice for next season. dark. Next

Ultimately though, Pettersson is still one of the most important components of the Canucks moving forward. This is just a situation where he needs to learn from what happened, and continue to mature both on and off the ice.

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