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Canucks’ Pettersson not among six early picks for Team Sweden’s Four Nations Cup roster

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Photo credit:NHL.com
Jeff Paterson
15 days ago
With 39 goals and 89 points for the Vancouver Canucks last season. Elias Pettersson finished third among all Swedish players in the National Hockey League in both offensive categories. And over the past two seasons, no one from Sweden has been more productive than Pettersson. And it hasn’t been particularly close.
 
And yet, when the Swedish Hockey Federation released the names of the first six players that will wear the Tre Kroner at the Four Nations Cup in February this morning, Pettersson was conspicuously absent from the list.
Now make no mistake, Elias Pettersson will be part of the Swedish team in the four country competition early next year. Of that there is no doubt. And with any sort of reveal like this to promote the tournament and get people talking, notable names will always be on the outside looking in.
But it’s impossible to view today’s news and not think that the top decision makers in Swedish hockey saw the same things from Pettersson that the Canucks and Canucks fans did down the stretch and through the playoffs. And that was a player that looked like he lacked confidence and one that wasn’t able to impact games the way he has for most of his six seasons in the NHL.
At his season-ending media availability, Pettersson acknowledged his late-season struggles and vowed to be better. He also attributed some of his spotty play to a bout of tendonitis in his knee.
Since the start of the 2022-23 NHL season, Pettersson has produced 73 goals and 191 points in 162 games. William Nylander is second over that span with 185 points with Mika Zibanejad third at 163. Pettersson is 10th in the NHL in point production over the past two seasons. And yet, his country opted to list six others ahead of him in the build up to the Four Nations Cup.
This past season, Pettersson finished behind Nylander (98) and Filip Forsberg (94) in terms of point production. Pettersson and Forsberg led all Swedish players in the league with 13 power play goals. So there is a strong case to be made that Pettersson is one of the top three forwards available to Sweden.
Yet when today’s list was released, he was not among the chosen six.
Pettersson starts into the first year of his new 8-year/$92.8M contract next season. That alone should be all the motivation he needs to return to the Canucks and return to his game-breaking form. However, if today’s news serves as any kind of fuel or a chip on his shoulder to show the Swedish Hockey Federation it made a mistake by leaving him off the early list, then perhaps that will benefit the Canucks.

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