logo

Canucks’ Elias Pettersson now using a stick flex higher than Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby

alt
Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
6 months ago
At this point, everyone knows Elias Pettersson has gotten stronger every offseason since he’s been in the NHL.
When he burst onto the scene with the Vancouver Canucks in 2018-19 en route to winning the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie, Pettersson was listed at 176 pounds. To this day, his weight still reads as 176 on the NHL’s website, but Canucks fans have seen firsthand how much muscle Pettersson has added year after year.
Pettersson’s added strength seems to show up in different ways every season. In his sophomore year, he seemed to add a reverse hit to his game, and recently, we’ve seen him make an overall effort to play more physically than in years past. But perhaps the easiest way to tell Pettersson has gotten stronger — aside from him telling us, of course — is by way of his stick flex.
First, a quick explanation of what stick flex means. Flex is used to describe a hockey stick’s stiffness. The lower the number, the more “whippy” the stick is, and the higher the flex, the more stiff the stick is. A stiffer stick helps with faceoffs, stick battles, one-timers, slap shots, and overall shot speed. Defencemen typically use a higher flex, as do bigger, stronger players.
For shoot-first wingers like Aidan McDonough, a less whippy stick is typically ideal.
“I use an 80 flex and I use a bit of a longer stick,” McDonough told CanucksArmy. “I use it because I can get my shot off quickly. I think it’s the most important thing you can utilize on a stick now with the technology, like Bedard uses a 65, and he uses a really long stick, but the problem is, you have to find that fine line. Like, if I used 70 or 75, my shot would be very quick, but one timers would be a bit harder — it’s harder to hammer a one-timer with a low flex and it’s also harder to handle a puck, win stick battles, and take faceoffs.”
Thus, a two-way centre who also has one of the most lethal shots in the league like Pettersson needs to find the “fine line” that McDonough is talking about when choosing their stick flex. And in Pettersson’s case, continuing to get stronger has meant that he’s continuously moved up in flex. After using an 82 flex in 2021-22, Pettersson went up to an 87 flex last season.
“Last season when I went up in flex, I was playing with my old stick in the summer, and it was like I was pushing through the flex point. I like to play with a stiff stick so that when I shoot, the stick responds right away. And for this summer, I went up in flex again.” Pettersson told CanucksArmy in late September at Canucks training camp in Victoria. “I’m at 95 now, but I might go up again, we’ll see. It’s all just about how I feel.”
A 95 flex is on the higher side for any forward, let alone one who shoots with as much accuracy, speed, and overall precision as Pettersson. Pettersson shared with us today that he’s now up to a 102 flex to begin the new campaign.
Anything higher than 100 is typically reserved for hulking defencemen like Carson Soucy, who don’t need to worry about getting wrist shots off in a hurry the way Pettersson does. For comparison, Soucy uses a 105 flex with an extended length, which he says makes it feel more like a 100 flex.
Pettersson is now using a Bauer Proto R stick after using a Bauer AG5NT before this season. His new stick weighs only 345 grams, according to geargeek.com.
Per prohockeysticks.com, here are some comparables of players around the league’s stick flexes:
Jake Guentzel: 80
Jordan Kyrou: 85
Roope Hintz: 85
Dylan Larkin: 90
Sidney Crosby: 100
Alex Ovechkin: 100
From what we can see from the publicly available data, Pettersson’s 102 flex gives him the highest flex of any forward in the league outside of Pittsburgh Penguins centre Evgeni Malkin, who uses a near-unheard-of 115 flex on his stick.
That seems pretty good for a guy who was dubbed by many to be too skinny to hang in the NHL.
When asked how comfortable he is using a 102, Pettersson coyly responded, “it worked last game, didn’t it?”
It’s flat-out hard to disagree with that logic.

Check out these posts...