The organization’s top prospect, Elias Pettersson, was showered with awards yesterday.
Throughout the morning, the SHL was announcing their winners from this past season and Elias Pettersson ended up as the SHL Rookie of the Year, SHL Top Forward, and the SHL MVP.
Big day for @_EPettersson, who caps off an outstanding first @SHLse season being named Rookie of the Year, Forward of the Year and Most Valuable Player! He was also the SHL Playoff MVP leading the Växjö Lakers to an SHL Championship! ??? pic.twitter.com/8NQZuN1ig7
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) April 30, 2018
The Rookie of the Year and Top Forward awards were not surprising at all. Pettersson ended the year as the top scorer despite playing the fewest amount of games among the top 20 scorers. He ended the year with the second most goals despite taking the first few games to get his first one.
The SHL MVP award was also not a surprise as he was the best player on the ice and was a huge part of why Vaxjo finished first in the regular season by a fairly healthy margin. In fact, Pettersson not winning the Guldhjalmen is the bigger surprise. Back in late March, the player voted MVP award was given to Joakim Lindstrom from Skelleftea despite Lindstrom only having the edge in assists on Pettersson. The Guldhjalmen is generally viewed as the more prestigious award and many pundits were surprised to see it going to someone other than Pettersson.
That shouldn’t take away from the season that Pettersson had. Here is the list of accolades that the Canucks prospect accomplished this year:
- Most regular season points by a U20 player in SHL history
- Led SHL in regular season scoring
- Most playoff points by a U20 player in SHL history (single season)
- Led SHL in playoff scoring
- Stefan Liv Memorial Trophy Winner (Playoff MVP)
- SHL Top Forward
- SHL Rookie of the Year
- SHL MVP
- SHL Champion
- U20 WJHC Silver Medal
- Most goals and point by a junior player
Quite the list.
My biggest takeaway from Pettersson this season is just how smart the kid is on the ice. His anticipation and ability to thread passes are the things that stand out but everything he does on the ice exudes thinking the game at a different level. In board engagements, he angles his body to place the weight on the opponent rather than himself. On the powerplay, he was regularly pointing and yelling at his teammates to make plays that didn’t even include him or would take a look at the clock before he gets the puck to know how much time he has before the penalty or period ends. It’s the small and minute plays that really begin to stand out.
Lastly, his shot wasn’t something that stood out when the season began but he just started beating goalies cleanly. The improvement there gives the Sundsvall native a full offensive toolbox that will allow to produce points in a variety of ways.
Canucks fans are obviously excited to see what the former 5th overall pick will be able to do over here in North America. Patience will be needed but there is so much to like about Pettersson’s game that it’s easy to see the Swedish MVP in the starting lineup for the Canucks next season. He may be slight but makes up for it in every other facet of his game.