Seven points away from 100, here are seven stats from Elias Pettersson’s breakout season
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
7 months ago
Elias Pettersson has reached another level with the Vancouver Canucks this season.
In a way, Pettersson’s ascension into superstardom has felt like a long time coming. While those around the league may be surprised to see Pettersson closing in on the 100 point mark — he’s just seven points away at the time of this writing — Canucks fans have known for a while that what Pettersson has done this season was doable for the 24-year-old Swede.
They just needed to see it actually happen.
After a successful rookie season that earned him the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie, Pettersson’s sophomore season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then in the 2021 bubble season, a disastrous one for the Canucks, Pettersson suffered a freak wrist injury and appeared in just 26 games. In need of a new contract, the Canucks signed Pettersson to a three-year contract with a price tag of $7.35 million annually.
Last season, the first with his new contract, Pettersson stumbled out of the gate, looking like a shell of his former self. The centre appeared to put it all together around the time the Canucks overhauled their management and coaching staff, scoring at a 100+ point pace during the second half of the season, and still managed to finish the year with 32 goals and 36 assists through 80 games played.
One of the takeaways from those four NHL seasons though? Zero seasons in which Pettersson was a point per game player.
This year, however, Pettersson has looked hellbent on shedding any labels calling him a streaky player. Pettersson has been a dominant two-way force all season long at evens, and has become the Canucks’ most effective penalty killer as well.
The end result, as the title states, is him closing in on 100 points as the season winds down. With nine games remaining, Pettersson sits at 93 points — seven away from the 100-point plateau.
But this isn’t about whether or not Pettersson will reach that marker, as Pettersson’s season is still an incredible accomplishment and a great sign for Canucks fans regardless of how many points Pettersson finishes the year with.
Instead, this article is about six stats that have driven Pettersson’s remarkable season at both ends of the ice.
63 even strength points
We’d be remiss if we didn’t begin this with the stat that, quite literally, has been the driving force of Pettersson’s point production this season: his even strength point production.
Pettersson’s 63 even strength points ranks fifth league-wide behind just Connor McDavid (70), Erik Karlsson (69), Matthew Tkachuk (64), and David Pastrnak (64). And the contrast of that…
Just 5 power play goals and 22 overall power play points
We know, these numbers aren’t high, and aren’t really contributing much to Pettersson’s high point total this season. For a player who looks so effective on the power play, just five power play goals to Pettersson’s name seems low, and flat-out wrong.
But it’s true, Pettersson has just five goals on the power play, as teams work hard to limit one of the NHL’s hardest shots. Pettersson talked about this recently.
“Teams usually have a guy standing on me,” said Pettersson. “I try just to read when I have a little bit of time to shoot it, but most of the time, I have a guy right on me. When it happens, I have to find a way to figure out a way to shoot more. I haven’t had that many power play goals this year, definitely want to have a few more there, but it’s things I can work on.”
Pettersson’s 22 points on the power play rank 56th league-wide, which again, comes as a bit of a shock given how crucial Pettersson is to the Canucks’ power play’s overall success.
The reason we bring up these two stats is to illustrate just how efficient Pettersson has been at even strength, and how if he takes a step with his power play production, this likely won’t be Pettersson’s last 90+ point season.
3 overtime goals
Pettersson has long been incredible to watch when games go to extra time, and this season has been no different. Pettersson is tied with Martin Necas, Mikko Rantanen, William Nylander, and Kris Letang for the NHL lead in overtime goals with three.
Pettersson’s most memorable overtime goal of the season is undoubtedly when Pettersson embarrassed Mike Matheson in the Canucks’ OT win over the Montreal Canadiens back in December.
The Canucks are 12-5 in OT this season, and Pettersson closing out three of those 12 is certainly very impressive.
10 penalty minutes
When discussing a player’s value as a whole, not putting their team on the penalty kill certainly needs to be taken into consideration, especially when that team is the 2022-23 Vancouver Canucks. In that category, Pettersson has been among the league’s best, with just 10 penalty minutes on the year.
Among the top 15 point producers in the NHL, Pettersson’s 10 minutes of time in the sin bin are lower than anyone not named Jack Hughes, who has recorded just two minor penalties while putting up 86 points in 69 games.
Pettersson not being the one taking penalties is especially valuable for the Canucks, because if he takes the penalty, he can’t be on the ice to kill it off. Which brings us to our next point…
8 shorthanded points and 4 shorthanded goals
In this category, Pettersson is tied with his most consistent penalty killing partner JT Miller. Despite the Canucks’ struggles on the penalty kill this season, Pettersson and Miller have added a whole new element, scoring a league-high eight points each while shorthanded.
Toronto’s Mitch Marner is the next closest in shorthanded points with five. The level at which Pettersson and Miller have teamed up to produce offence while shorthanded has been remarkable to watch, even if the Canucks’ PK has been near historically bad at killing penalties.
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