Prospect Report: By NHLPROSPECTREPORT
When you mention the Canucks these days you will get a lot of mixed reactions, but I'm here to tell you that the dog days are over.
The Vancouver Canucks have had a rough couple years since their cup run in 2011 (Spoiler Alert--they lost). They haven't made it past the quarter finals of the playoffs since and Nucks' fans are currently riding a three year streak of no playoffs at all.
While that may discourage fans from watching the Canucks this season, I am writing this article to prove that you and any other fan of the game will enjoy this season's Canucks. No, the Canucks probably wont win a Stanley Cup this year or next, but the future looks bright with breakout stars Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser already demanding first line minutes.
Furthermore the prospect pool looks deep beyond those two with big names like Hughes, Juolevi, Dahlen, Lind and Demko waiting for their chance. I'll leave the other Canucks prospects for another day, this article is about the most special prospect the Canucks have ever had, Elias Petterson.
The Canucks drafted Petterson 5th overall in 2017. When I was watching the draft that day I had Vancouver pegged to draft the big strong centre Cody Glass from the Portland Winterhawks. Instead General Manager Jim Benning opted to go with Elias, although at the time he was the same height as Glass, there was a small concern about his slender 150 pound frame.
The Canucks in the past had chosen size over skill--see Jake Virtanen over Nylander and Ehlers in 2014, and many fans are still miffed about that draft year, so its good to see that Benning has learned from his past mistakes.
Although both Glass and Pettterson will be NHL regulars, it appears as though Vancouver has found a generational talent with Petterson. It seems in this case drafting skill over size was the right call (something the Nucks' did again in the first round this year)
Petterson dominated the SHL (Swedish Hockey League) this last season taking the Växjö Lakers to the SHL playoff finals and being named playoff MVP all while leading the Lakers to a league championship. If that wasn't enough to raise your eyebrows listen to this.
Petterson also broke the all-time SHL regular season scoring record for a junior beating out players like Henrik and Daniel Sedin by a considerable margin. Still not enough? How about he set the record for scoring by a U20 player in a single playoffs as well.
When you have a prospect of this caliber it makes zero sense to throw him out there with 3rd line guys. I predict Petterson will play wing with Horvat and Boeser all season with the three of them being a consistent line all year long. I think each of them could easily get 60-75 points if they can manage to stay healthy. This could easily be one of the best offensive lines in the league. Something the Canucks desperately need, among other things.
This kid is the future of the franchise, and the Canucks know it. Expect to see Petterson's name in contention all year for the Calder Trophy. This year's possible contenders include big names such as: Svechnikov, Dahlen, Zadina and Middlestadt. All of whom should make big impacts on their respective clubs.
Petterson has now proven that the SHL has nothing left for him. I just hope the Canucks utilize him in a way that continues this unbelievable development.