Canucks’ Elias Pettersson talks contract situation, Quinn Hughes’ captaincy, and more
By Noah Strang2 months ago
The Canucks are all in Victoria right now for their preseason training camp as preparation for the 2023-24 NHL season officially gets underway.
Elias Pettersson met with the media today at Canucks training camp after his skating session. It was the superstar centre’s first meeting with the media this year and he was asked questions on various topics, most notably his contract situation and the team’s new captain.
Pettersson skated with Group A today on a line with Nils Höglander and Andrei Kuzmenko. As usual, Pettersson showed off a few of his signature snipes throughout the session.
Here are some of the most relevant things that Pettersson had to say today when meeting with the media.
Contract uncertainty for Pettersson as he enters final year
Elias Pettersson enters the 2023-24 NHL season in the final year of a three-year / $7.35 million AAV bridge deal signed in October 2021. This means that — if he can’t come to an agreement with the Canucks before this date — Pettersson will officially be a restricted free agent on July 1st, 2024.
Pettersson was quite guarded answering questions about his contract situation and didn’t say much of note. When asked about how he would make sure that the negotiations didn’t become a distraction, he had the following to say.
“It’s [the contract negotiations] not a distraction. You guys [the media] make it a distraction. I’ve got one more year left,” the Swede quipped. “I’m happy now but I just want to focus on the season, my teammates, and just come out with a good start with the team.”
As much as Pettersson wants to make it seem like this won’t be a distraction, the further we get into the season, the more the noise is going to turn up on this issue. Especially after what has happened across the league recently with RFAs like Matthew Tkachuk forcing their way out, Pettersson’s contract extension will remain a massive story until it’s resolved.
Pettersson happy for Hughes after being named captain
It was just a few weeks ago that the Canucks did not have a captain. While the team decided to name defenceman Quinn Hughes captain, Pettersson was another popular front-runner that many thought would be a strong candidate for the position. Despite being passed over, Pettersson had only good things to say about Hughes and his leadership skills.
“He [Hughes] has been taking steps every year and obviously this is a big step for him, but I think he’s more than ready,” Petterson said. “I think especially last year he took some steps and I’m excited.”
When pushed more and asked directly if it was hard to be fully happy for Quinn when there was so much speculation that it would be Pettersson himself who was named captain, Petey quickly put an end to it.
“Quinn is the captain and we’re happy.”
More notes from Pettersson’s press appearance
One of the biggest surprises from the Group A skating session was Nils Höglander playing alongside Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko. That’s a big opportunity for Höglander who has struggled to replicate the success of his 2020-21 NHL rookie season.
Pettersson seemed excited about the prospect of playing alongside his fellow Swede to start training camp.
“Very excited, I mean he’s an amazing guy who works hard,” Pettersson commented. “Good opportunity for him obviously but I think he’s more than ready for it.”
Keep checking back over this weekend for more updates from Victoria where CanucksArmy is on the ground providing the latest up-to-date coverage.
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