Trying to guess what Carolina’s offer for Elias Pettersson might have been

Photo credit:© James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
1 month ago
A lot of the time in this business, we spend time discussing trades that still might happen, but probably won’t.
Today, we’re here to talk about a trade that didn’t happen, but reportedly almost did.
But we promise it will be interesting.
Elias Pettersson has not been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes. But if the latest batch of rumours are to be believed – and they’re coming from enough different sources that they almost have to be – then the Canucks did at least consider the move at some point in the very recent past.
In fact, the narrative that is beginning to emerge is that the newest round of extension negotiations, which as of this writing have not produced a new Pettersson contract but promise to soon, only began after the front office of the Vancouver Canucks approached Pettersson and told him that trade talks had gotten serious.
Serious enough that decisions needed to be made about whether team and player would be sticking together or parting ways.
Anyway, it didn’t happen, negotiations resumed, and it sounds as though a long-term contract is now on the way.
But as far as things that maybe almost happened in Canucks history, this has got to be among the most interesting and would-have-been-consequential of them all.
So, we’re going to spend some time speculating about what the Hurricanes’ offer for Pettersson might have been.
On that front, we don’t know much. We supposedly know that Sebastian Aho, the Hurricanes’ own rough equivalent to Pettersson, was not included. With about as much assuredness, we know that Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Martin Necas were potentially involved, though neither could be considered a true centrepiece of the trade.
We also know that the offer was “overwhelming,” and while that’s a sourced quote, it’s also common sense. This is an offer that reportedly made GM Patrik Allvin and Co. actually think about moving on from Pettersson.
If such an offer was made, it would have had to be huge.
With that in mind, as we discuss potential pieces coming from Carolina today, we’re going to stick firmly on the “overwhelming,” as in those players and assets who could be said to truly “move the needle.”
In other words, would the Canucks turn down the inclusion of Carolina’s second round pick in 2025? Surely not. But is such an asset a major difference-maker in whether or not they’re willing to trade Pettersson? Surely not, either. So, we’re not going to spend much time discussing those types of assets.
Just the big stuff. Here’s who and what we think may have been on the table:
Martin Necas
RW/C, 25, 6’2”, 189lb
$3 million cap hit, expiring in 2024 (RFA)
As Necas’ name was specifically attached to this rumour, we’ll start our discussion with him. He’s a player who’s experienced an up-and-down developmental path that has seen him bounce between centre and the wing, but he seems to have settled down into a role as a de facto top-six winger.
Last year, Necas broke out with 71 points in 82 games, and he’s followed that up with a slight decrease in production to 42 points in 55 games as of this writing. But that could probably be explained away by quality of linemates: he spent most of 2022/23 next to Andrei Svechnikov, and has spent most of this year alongside Michael Bunting.
Were we talking about him in a vacuum, we might describe Necas as a bright young player who has really come into his own. But as a main piece in a Pettersson trade, he leaves a lot to be desired. In other words, if Necas was included here, then at least one other piece of better value would have had to be included, too.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi
C, 23, 6’2”, 198lb
$4.82 million cap hit, expiring in 2030 (UFA)
As a centre drafted high by a Canadian team the year after the Canucks drafted Pettersson and who arrived in the same season, Kotkaniemi has always drawn comparisons to the Canucks’ superstar, and usually not of the complimentary variety. Any head-to-head talk died down after their rookie campaigns, but it would still feel strange to have Kotkaniemi included in this trade.
It also wouldn’t be very exciting, and something that would only really serve to balance out cap. Unlike Necas, Kotkaniemi has yet to really break out. He hit a career high with 43 points in 82 games last year, but this year is on pace for significantly less than that with 21 points through 60.
His defensive game has improved by leaps and bounds, reportedly, and Kotkaniemi is definitely a valuable NHL player in his own right, but he’s not quite of “move the needle” quality in this trade.
He’s also someone who anyone trading for is committing to for a long, long time.
Andrei Svechnikov
LW/RW, 23, 6’2”, 195lb
$7.75 million cap hit, expiring in 2029 (UFA)
The only other “veteran” forward worth mentioning here is Svechnikov himself, even if his name has yet to appear in any rumours. Aho aside, he’s simply the best the Hurricanes might have to offer, and his combination of size, skill, and experience at such a young age definitely give him more appeal than either of the two aforementioned players.
With 35 points in 39 games this season, Svechnikov feels as though he’s yet to really break out, even as he continues to hover a bit below PPG status. That said, this is his second year in a row missing significant time to injury, and so that may be a factor in his perhaps not picking up all the points he potentially could.
In terms of a Pettersson trade, Svechnikov is clearly at least a tier or two below, value-wise, and that’s not even factoring in the difference in value between a first line centre and a first line winger. It’s possible for Svechnikov to be the singular best asset in a Pettersson trade, but it’s a best asset that would still need to be supplemented with serious additional value.
Brett Pesce
RHD, 29, 6’3”, 206lb
$4.025 million cap hit, expiring in 2024 (UFA) [M-NTC]
Pesce’s name was heard a little bit on the block this past offseason, and the Canucks’ name were attached at one point. Once the season began, however, Carolina took him off the block and focused on competing. That said, he’s yet to sign an extension and is still a pending UFA, so for a player as good as Pettersson, we have to imagine that Pesce would be able to be put back on the table.
For the Canucks, the draw is simple: Pesce has been one of the game’s most effective two-way RHDs for several seasons running. He’d become the Canucks’ best RHD in an instant, and might just make for the perfect Quinn Hughes partner. But that’s the player, not the contract. Pesce would have either needed to arrive with a pre-ordained extension in place, or he would have had to be considered only a medium piece in a Pettersson deal. Rentals only go so far when we’re talking about trading franchise centres.
Seth Jarvis
RW/C, 22, 5’10”, 175lb
$894K cap hit, expiring in 2024 (RFA)
Now in his third NHL season, Jarvis has worked his way into the Carolina top-six, though more frequently as a wing than at centre. He’s already up to a career-high 48 points in 60 games this year, and that’s while only occasionally playing with Aho. Most of the time, Jarvis serves on a defensively-oriented unit alongside the Jordans Staal and Martinook.
Talent-wise, Jarvis is at least one step below elite, and thus he’s someone who could be valued in a trade like this, but only to a certain extent. He’s somewhere between a main piece and a sweetener here.
Jack Drury
C, 24, 5’11”, 174lb
$925K cap hit, expiring in 2024
This is as deep as we’re going to scrape into the Hurricanes’ active roster. Drury is a young and feisty but mildly-undersized centre who probably won’t ever amount to anything above middle-six status at this point. Centre depth is always important, so he’s someone who could be included here, but falls well within “sweetener” territory.
Alexander Nikishin
LHD, 22, 6’3”, 196lb
Unsigned draft pick, rights held indefinitely
Now we get into the prospects. The Canucks are competitive right now, so if they were targeting youth from Carolina, it was probably of the variety that is able to step into the NHL sooner rather than later.
And that’s definitely Nikishin. He’s been called the best prospect outside the big leagues at various points over the past couple of seasons, and that remains as true as ever. As a 22-year-old defender, he’s up to 56 points in 67 KHL games this year.
It’s said that Nikishin could probably walk right into the NHL tomorrow based on his skill, physicality, and poise. The only issue is that his contract runs until the end of the 2024/25 campaign.
But that’s not that long a wait!
Scott Morrow
RHD, 21, 6’2”, 195lb
Unsigned draft pick, rights held until August 15, 2025
Morrow isn’t quite the same standard of prospect as Nikishin, but he does have a vaguely similar profile and extra added value as a RHD. One can’t help but to like the idea of getting a strong, multifaceted two-way future defence pairing in one fell swoop in the form of both Morrow and Nikishin.
Throw these two into the trade, and many of the flaws in the assets we mentioned above get made up for. 
Bradly Nadeau
LW, 5’10”, 160lb
Unsigned draft pick, rights held until August 15, 2027
We’re just mentioning Nadeau here as the Hurricane’s third-best prospect and most recent high draft pick. He’s a skilled enough winger, but on size alone, he’s not someone that the Canucks could get excited about including in a Pettersson trade. A sweetener, at best. 
Carolina’s 2024 (or 2025 or…) First Round Pick
Picks are always nice, especially with the Canucks having traded so many of late, but they wouldn’t be exactly what the Canucks would be looking for here. Anyone drafted with a late first in 2024 couldn’t be expected to show up in the NHL until nearer the end of the decade, and that’s not very helpful to the franchise’s current goals.
There’s no doubt, in looking at the spread of players listed above, that this would have had to be a multi-piece package, and probably one with as much quantity as quality. If we start with, say, Necas or Svechnikov as the centrepiece, we’d still expect to see at least a couple of top prospects placed on top before we’re even willing to bring Pettersson’s name into the discussion.
Make it something like Svechnikov, Nikishin, and Morrow, and perhaps now we’re talking. Even then, however, there are question marks to be applied.
For an offer to have been truly “overwhelming,” it may have even needed to be bigger than that.

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