After months of speculation, the Vancouver Canucks took to the stage at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Their haul was none other than Elias Pettersson of Timra in the Allsvenskan, a playmaking centre who’s soft hands and vision make him a sound bet for their future at the position.
— NHL (@NHL) June 23, 2017
In 43 games with Timra, spent mostly at left wing, Pettersson scored 41 points (19 goals and 22 assists). The 6’2″ centre is without peers when measured through the pGPS (Prospect Graduation Probabilities System), a byproduct of his gaudy scoring in a professional men’s league as a 17-year-old. When we look at Pettersson’s production through the SEAL (Situational Era Age League), he’s at the top of his entire draft class with 1.73 points per game after the adjustments.
My one question with Pettersson is how his developmental path might limit his ability to develop into an NHL centre. He’s committed to playing with the Vaxjo Lakers in the SHL next season. Pettersson revealed to me that their plan is to play him on the wing. That happens to players with slight frames in professional hockey leagues at such a young age.
Whether at centre or the wing, Pettersson looks as sound a bet as any player available to the Canucks at fifth overall to make an impact at the NHL level. If he can build on his frame and get some reps at centre with Vaxjo next season, I don’t imagine it will take long for him make his mark at the NHL level. It’s a great pick by the Canucks, of that much I have no doubt.