Canucks prospect Elias Pettersson is ripping it up in Sweden

Oct 26 2017, 9:20 pm

The Vancouver Canucks have a lot riding on Elias Pettersson.

The team’s first-round pick, fifth overall at the NHL Draft last June represents a lot for the franchise. A skilled centre, he’s the only player they have that is trending towards becoming a first-line centre.

The tall, lanky Swede will need time to mature, get stronger, and work on his game before making an impact in the NHL, so for now we’ll have to track his progress from afar.

Pettersson made the move from Timra IK of the Swedish second division to the Vaxjo Lakers in the top-tier Swedish Hockey League this season. The result? So far, so good.

The 18-year-old picked up five points, including a hat trick, on Thursday. The 6-foot-2, 161-pound forward now has 14 points (5-9-14) in 12 games. Pettersson now leads his team in scoring by six points, and is fifth in SHL scoring.

And this isn’t an easy league to score in. The league leader in the SHL had 54 points in 51 games last season.

Let’s take a look at his three goals from Thursday’s breakout performance, courtesy of the Canucks prospects guru, Ryan Biech.

Pettersson scored his first of the game on a penalty shot, 3:57 into the game to give Vaxjo a 1-0 lead over Frolunda:

With the game tied at two, Pettersson ripped home a one-timer on the power play late in the second period:

Then, early in the third, Pettersson showed off a wicked wrister. His shot went top-corner to give his team the lead. It stood up as the eventual game winner:

Pettersson now has game winning goals in two-straight games, as he notched this beauty two days earlier against Farjestad:

Amazing how often he finds himself in the slot with ample time to rip home a shot, isn’t it?

It’s a small sample size, certainly, but a wonderful start for the youngster. If he can keep this up, he’ll be in some good company:

At times it can feel like the Canucks are lightyears away from being competitive again. How true to reality that may be will depend a lot on a player like Pettersson and how quickly he develops.

Can he be a No. 1 centre?

Time will tell, but the early returns are spectacular.

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