Elias Pettersson is doing things we’ve never seen a Canucks rookie do before in the 48-year history of the franchise.
I know we said that after his first 10 games, but we’re now 27 games into his young career and he’s still going strong. And if he keeps this up, not only will he own every Canucks rookie record, he’ll have shattered many of them.
After going through a stretch of just four games without a point last month, Pettersson has found his stride once again.
The 20-year-old has points in four straight games, including three straight multi-point efforts. He had eight points in three games last week to earn the NHL’s First Star of the Week honour. The youngster followed that up with a goal and an assist Tuesday, helping the Canucks to a 3-2 comeback win against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
We’re used to him scoring highlight reel goals, but he gets greasy ones too. The tying goal in Columbus bounced off his foot, as he battled for position in front of goaltender Joonas Korpisalo.
Pettersson now has 32 points (16-16-32) in 27 games to lead all Canucks players. Despite missing six games in October due to a concussion, he’s now tied for 30th in NHL scoring, and 23rd in points per game.
He has 23 even strength points, which has him tied with Evgeni Malkin and one back of Sidney Crosby.
So yeah, he’s having one hell of a season.
.@_EPettersson leads all rookies in goals, assists, points, plus/minus, points per game, power play points and game winning goals.
And now he's only 43 hits from leading rookies in that as well 😉 pic.twitter.com/8BP8FLkaGd
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) December 12, 2018
If he stays healthy and continues this torrid pace, he’ll wipe Pavel Bure’s name from the record books in a few spots.
Bure currently holds the Canucks rookie goals record with 34 and is tied with Ivan Hlinka for the points record (60). Pettersson, who is on a 45-goal and 90-point pace, could shatter both records.
Hlinka also holds the even strength points record with 49. Pettersson is on pace for 65.
Bure started his rookie season a month late, but Pettersson still has more points per game (1.19) than Bure had (0.92).
Pettersson is also on pace to rack up 45 assists, which would narrowly eclipse the franchise rookie record (42) set by Dale Tallon in the Canucks’ inaugural season in 1970-71.
The power play goals record (10) is shared by Brock Boeser, Daniel Sedin, Trevor Linden, and Rick Blight. Pettersson is on pace to score 11.
Pettersson is on a 25-point clip on the power play, which would surpass Boeser’s record set last year (23).
The lanky Swede already has four game-winning goals, just two shy of Bure’s rookie record.
|Canucks rookie record||34||42||60||10||23||6||49||0.92|
Pettersson’s start to his NHL career is head and shoulders better than Bure’s, who had just 12 points (6-6-12) in his first 27 games.
As Boeser proved last season, a strong start does not guarantee a great finish. Boeser had 27 points (15-12-27) in his first 27 games last season (five back of Pettersson now), but suffered a wrist injury that hindered his performance before a back injury ended his season.
Pettersson will need to stay healthy, which no player can guarantee (knock on wood). But if he does, there’s no reason to think that he can’t put together the finest first-year season in team history.
League-wide, Pettersson’s numbers would stack up well historically too.
He’s not likely to catch Teemu Selanne’s records of 76 goals and 132 points set in 1992-93, but Pettersson would join some elite company nonetheless.
If he can continue his 45-goal and 90-point pace, he’ll tie Dale Hawerchuk for the sixth-best rookie goal total and Steve Larmer (13th) for points. He’d have more goals than Crosby (39) or Mario Lemieux (43) had as rookies and more points than Steve Yzerman (87) or Joe Sakic (62).
Oh, and if he keeps this up, he’ll have the Calder Trophy secured by February.