Elias Pettersson is an NHL superstar.
If that was ever a debate, it shouldn’t be anymore.
Pettersson was on the path to superstardom during the first period of his NHL debut.
Although there were hiccups during the shortened 2020-21 season and the beginning of last year, the 24-year-old has spent the last 14 months cementing himself as one of the best players in the NHL.
So far this season, Pettersson has amassed 75 points (28 goals, 47 assists) in 56 games. He’s already surpassed his career high of 68 points (32 goals, 36 assists) set last year, and there are still 26 games left to go in the campaign.
Although his season is being wasted by a pathetic team performance by the Vancouver Canucks, Pettersson is on pace for one of the best seasons in franchise history.
One's mileage may vary on the utility of these stats (I happen to think they're pretty cool and useful and instructive!) but Elias Pettersson placing in the top three leaguewide is pretty neat. Can't help but feel like he's a no-brainer Hart Trophy candidate on a less-awful team. pic.twitter.com/lso6eGzYS1
— J.D. Burke (@JDylanBurke) February 24, 2023
Pettersson has scored at a 1.34 point-per-game clip in 2022-23, which is tied for the seventh-best mark in the NHL. That pace is good for 109 points over a full 82 games.
The Canucks franchise record for most points in a single season was when Henrik Sedin posted 112 points during the 200-10 campaign. That was a much different season for the Canucks obviously, as they finished with the fifth-best record in the NHL.
The Canucks have the NHL’s sixth-worst record in 2022-23 entering action Saturday. It’s arguably more impressive that Pettersson has managed to have such a successful season in spite of the players around him.
The Sundsvall, Sweden native has missed two games this season, which means he’s on pace for 107 points if he plays in the Canucks’ final 26 games.
Pettersson chances of making Canucks history are strong
Right now, Pettersson is about a six-point pace shy of tying Henrik’s record. But, there are a couple of reasons why the Canucks young superstar still has a chance of breaking that mark.
For starters, no one in the NHL has been as hot as Pettersson of late. Since the All-Star break, Pettersson has 17 points in nine games, which is tied for first in the NHL over that stretch with Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers.
Second, the Canucks have the fifth-easiest schedule in the NHL remaining, according to Power Rankings Guru. They still have multiple games against the bottom-dwelling Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks.
Pettersson has totaled 43 points in 26 games against non-playoff teams this season, which is good for a 1.65 points-per-game pace.
He’s already torched multiple bottom-dwelling teams this season. That includes five-point nights against the Ducks and Philadelphia Flyers, along with a three-point night (including the overtime winner) recently against the St. Louis Blues.
DOIN' WHAT HE DOES BEST! pic.twitter.com/JQ0ZfFXd60
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 24, 2023
Even strength-scoring king
No forward in the NHL this season has posted more even-strength points (ESP) than Pettersson.
He leads the league with 53 points at 5-on-5. The only skater who has more points at five aside is San Jose Sharks defenceman Erik Karlsson (57).
Pettersson also has the chance to do something that’s only been accomplished twice in Canucks history.
He could become the third Canuck to crest the even strength point-per-game mark. The only two Canucks to ever accomplish that were Henrik Sedin (83 ESP in 82 games) and Daniel Sedin (64 in 63 games). They both did so back in 2009-10.
It’s rare and incredibly difficult for NHL players to accomplish this. Even though there’s been an uptick in scoring across the league, only a few players have ended the season as point-per-game players at even strength.
Over the past five seasons, only Connor McDavid (twice), Auston Matthews (twice), Artemi Panarin, and Johnny Gaudreau have ended the season with at least a point-per-game at even-strength.
This season, only Nathan Mackinnon has crested that mark, with 48 even strength points in 45 games played.