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Canucks Prospect Rewind: Elias Pettersson trended both up and down through 2022-23

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Photo credit:@orebrohockey on IG
Faber
By Faber
8 months ago
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We continue to roll through our prospect rewinds — taking a look at the 2022-23 seasons that the Vancouver Canucks’ prospects had.
Our next prospect was skyrocketing early in the year, but slowed down during the latter parts of the regular season and was not used much in playoff action.
We all had a good laugh when the Canucks drafted Elias Pettersson in the third round of the 2022 draft. I mean, it’s hilarious that this organization now has two players named Elias Pettersson in their system. Though we may not see D-Petey in the conversation for the Hart Trophy, we do see him becoming an NHL player one day. We saw a lot this past season that got us excited about the 6’3″, left-shot defenceman who skates extremely well and loves to play a physical style from the backend.
One thing that needs to be talked about before we get into D-Petey is that playing defence in a professional league as an 18-year-old is very hard. Teams will find spots for young and talented forwards but young defencemen often have to earn ice time much more than forwards do. This is exactly what Pettersson did this season. The young defenceman ended up playing in 93 games this season with the playing time coming from a combination of 56 SHL games, 16 J20 games and 21 international games.
D-Petey couldn’t help himself this year, he just wanted to play hockey. There was a stretch in late March where Pettersson played five games in six days — which included three SHL games.
At the start of the season, Pettersson was getting a few minutes here and there, averaging around three minutes a game in the SHL. Then, in December, Pettersson was given more ice time and began to thrive in the SHL. We saw him playing 13-19 minutes a night and having a lot of success in his bottom-four role.
Pettersson led all U19 defencemen in the SHL for games played, goals, and assists and also was trusted to be a good defender — he only took three minor penalties through his 56 SHL games (regular season and playoffs). He also held a positive Corsi in his rookie SHL season, posting a 50.7% CF%.

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We were bullish on the early part of D-Petey’s season and it was more than warranted. He was skyrocketing up the SHL depth chart and in December, was off to the World Junior Championships where he became Sweden’s best penalty killer on the back end and saw his ice time rise throughout the tournament.
D-Petey returned to the SHL after the WJC and continued his ice time rise. He averaged over 13 minutes a night in his 23 games after the WJC and saw 15+ minutes in 35% of those games, with an SHL career-high of 19:57 on a game in February.
Something happened after March, and Pettersson was sent down for a couple of J20 games before returning to the SHL for the playoffs. D-Petey didn’t receive many minutes in the SHL playoffs, seeing multiple games where he dressed but didn’t get a shift and in his nine playoff games, he had a high on ice time of 1:27.
After trending upwards throughout the season, D-Petey didn’t get much of a chance in the postseason and maybe that’s just because of his age.

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There was enough good in the 2022-23 season to keep your excitement level up on D-Petey. He played tough in the SHL and grew his physical play throughout the season while adding more offence as the year went on.
Now, we look towards the 2023-24 season, where D-Petey will be joined by fellow Canucks prospect Jonathan Lekkerimäki at Örebro in the SHL. The two look to be on the same timeline of coming to North America and should be able to develop together until that moment when they make the jump.
We expect to see Pettersson push for top-four minutes while being trusted more on the penalty kill next season. We’re also excited to watch Pettersson play for Sweden at the World Juniors — a spot where he has a chance to be a top-pairing defenceman for his home country as well as being trusted a ton on the penalty kill.
It’s going to be another exciting year covering Elias Pettersson and the World Juniors will be a chance for him to show his skill on a worldwide stage.
Predictions for 2023-24 season
50 games played, three goals, 11 assists with 13-18 minutes of ice time per game in SHL.
Eight games played, one goal, and five assists at World Juniors.

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