Breaking down Elias Pettersson’s current struggles: Canucks Conversation

Should the Canucks take Elias Pettersson off the top powerplay?
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
1 month ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal dove into Elias Pettersson’s struggles through the first round of the playoffs.
Pettersson’s struggles have been a hot topic since the All-Star break, after the forward inked his eight-year contract extension worth a total of $92.8 million. His production dropped during the regular season, and now Through the first five games of the series, has just 2 assists, 7 shots and a -3 plus-minus. the Canucks’ shot rate with Pettersson on the ice is down almost 20 per cent from the regular season as well. 
“There are rumblings behind the scenes – I haven’t been able to officially confirm this, and I’m not reporting it – but I would be surprised if Elias Pettersson is 100% healthy right now,” Harm began. “That’s not an excuse, just something to keep in mind as we analyze his performance so far. His playmaking ability to set others up for five-on-five scoring chances has completely fallen off a cliff. I tracked just three passes directly setting up a shot attempt and two passes setting up scoring chances for the entire series at five-on-five. So, he’s not driving play or creating looks for others. Why is that? The first reason seems to be that his innate spatial and environmental recognition is off. When Pettersson is on his game, he has a special ability to seemingly always know where his teammates and opponents are, making quick-strike, no-look passes that spring his linemates into high-danger areas before the opposition can react. Right now, Pettersson’s radar for detecting the location of his teammates seems off, leading to turnovers. This issue is independent of his linemates.”
“Game five showed some improvement, he started to trend better,” Harm noted. “His wingers are also hindering him. It’s a combination – Pettersson isn’t playing up to his ability, and his wingers are making bad decisions and turning over the puck. A couple of times, Pettersson’s been open in dangerous shooting positions, and they just miss him. Höglander’s had a tough time hanging onto the puck down low.”
“Now, the few times we’ve seen Pettersson with Miller for a few shifts, the difference that upgrade in linemates makes is instantly clear,” Harm pointed out. “J.T. is skilled at making plays on the wall in transition, drawing players towards him, then hitting Pettersson with a pass in the middle to spring him. When playing with Mikheyev and Hoglander, they lack the high-end skill and awareness to hit Pettersson through the middle with speed when they have the puck on the wall in a breakout.”
“Through the first four games, he’d been lacking urgency and heaviness when hunting for the puck at both ends,” Harm continued. “Whether it’s wall battles, creating turnovers, or down low situations, he gets bumped and loses possession. In Game 5, he was much better, setting up two chances by forcing turnovers.”
“The big takeaway is that Pettersson is off in so many small ways; it’s not just one thing to fix,” Harm concluded. “All these little areas – processing and decision-making, vision, puck handling and dekes, finishing, linemates, puck hunting, and even his skating- NHL edge data shows his speed is down from last season – contribute to a large cumulative effect, making him look mostly invisible.”
You can watch the full replay of today’s show below:

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