With Elias Pettersson signed for eight more years, now the real fun begins for the Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Lachlan Irvine
1 month ago
If you heard something unusual outside your window on Saturday morning, that sound was a whole province-worth of hockey fans breathing a huge sigh of relief.
With his new eight-year, $92.8 million contract, Elias Pettersson is going to be a Vancouver Canuck until he’s 33 years old. And if everything goes according to plan, he’ll play out most (if not all) of a future Hall of Fame career as the face of a reborn Canucks franchise, hopefully filled with both Stanley Cups and individual awards.
Putting pen to paper not only ends months of uncertainty and potential Twitter plane tracking during the summer, but it also puts the entire organization back on one path: the road to a championship and years of playoff contention.

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It’s incredible to look back at just how close we came to this day potentially not arriving.
The fear of Pettersson leaving Vancouver became very real, but as he made clear publicly right from the beginning of the season, it was never going to be about the money or term. It was about the team around him.
Over his first five seasons as a Canuck, Pettersson was witness to four excruciatingly bad seasons, three coaching changes, and some of the most baffling roster mismanagement in hockey history before Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin turned the ship around. And even then, there were still growing pains.
That experience is why Pettersson and his camp made it clear what he needed to see before he signed an extension: progress. A team that can win beyond just a handful of games late in the season. And this year’s team has not only met those expectations, they’ve exceeded them.
Without the Canucks’ red-hot play across the first three quarters of the season, it’s almost a guarantee that’s Pettersson’s future would’ve hung over the team all the way into the summer months. Now, Pettersson and his Canuck teammates have no outside noise to tune out ahead of the stretch drive to the playoffs.
For the Canucks’ front office, Pettersson signing is their own victory lap. Rutherford and Allvin got their superstar for the max number of years for under the expected $12 million market price, and have earned a massive amount of trust from a Canucks fanbase that’s been burned in the past.
It’s not easy to turn around public — and internal — perception after nearly a decade of expensive free agent signings, bad trades, and a whole lot of losing. But in just over two years, they’ve done it. Tickets at Rogers Arena are back to being a hot commodity, and local interest is reaching highs we haven’t seen since the Sedins and Roberto Luongo were wearing the uniform.
That’s not to say the work is done for both Pettersson and the front office, and they know it. Until the Canucks can put together a playoff run or sustain their success into next year, there’s bound to still be some skepticism from the hockey world. And while still putting up All-Star numbers, Pettersson has struggled to find the same scoring consistency this year as he did last season.
There’s no guarantee that everything will go exactly as planned, of course. After all, these are still the Vancouver Canucks we’re talking about. But after so many struggles just to get here, everyone’s entitled to savour the moment.
But now with no clock ticking down to restricted free agency, Pettersson will have all the time he needs to figure that out. Management can go find the right winger for Pettersson knowing that he’ll be there to play with them in 2024-25. And Canucks fans are free to enjoy the rest of a magical season without worrying about the future beyond it.
The story has really just begun for this era of the Vancouver Canucks, and you know Elias Pettersson will be front and centre of it.

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