‘He’s a human being’: Tocchet calls Elias Pettersson’s play ‘sporadic’ amidst recent contract chatter

Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
4 months ago
Elias Pettersson is in a bit of a rut.
The 25-year-old centre has just two points (both assists) in his last four games and one goal in his last nine, while the Vancouver Canucks have lost five of their last six games as the March 8 trade deadline approaches.
The Canucks originally selected Pettersson in the first round (No. 5 overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft. The Sundsvall, Sweden product has 29 goals and 75 points in 61 games with the Canucks this season but, as mentioned, his scoring output has decreased of late.
“Petey’s been, I don’t know the word to say here, just okay,” Tocchet said. “We have 22 games or whatever left to get his game going. Maybe I’ve got to do a better job of getting him going in certain spots.
“I think the power play has hurt his 5-on-5 play for some reason,” Tocchet continued. “The confidence on the power play has kind of cost his confidence a little bit on 5-on-5. We’ve had some good talks.”
Much has been made in the media of late about Pettersson’s contract status, with Daily Faceoff hockey insider Frank Seravalli reporting on Wednesday night that the Canucks have made significant progress on an eight-year deal with the star forward.
“He’s a human being, right?” Tocchet said. “There’s a lot of pressure weighing on him, and stuff like that. As a coach, I don’t really talk about contracts with him. He asked me one time, ‘How do you deal with outside noise?’ That was a while ago.”
“I think, for him, he’s in a market where there’s a lot of noise and he’s dealt really well with it. I know he’s good at it, when he gets away from the rink and away from things.”
If and when the Canucks do come to an agreement with a new contract for Pettersson, he’ll almost certainly become the team’s highest-paid player for the foreseeable future. It remains to be seen whether that’ll add on even more pressure or if it’ll help relieve what had been built up over the past few weeks and months.
In any case, the Canucks are set to return to action on Thursday to take on the Los Angeles Kings at 7:00 p.m. PT.

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