"I think he wants to stay": Pettersson open to long-term deal with Canucks

Apr 17 2023, 11:33 pm

Elias Pettersson should sign the largest contract in Vancouver Canucks history this summer if he and the team can agree on a long-term deal.

The 24-year-old, who is coming off a 102-point season, has just one more year remaining on his contract — a three-year bridge deal signed by former Canucks GM Jim Benning two years ago.

While many players in Pettersson’s situation would look to cash in on a long-term deal, that’s not always the case. And with a pair of recent examples, Matthew Tkachuk in Calgary and Pierre-Luc Dubois in Winnipeg, we saw players refuse to sign long-term deals because they wanted to go elsewhere when they became unrestricted free agents.

That thought is enough to send shivers down a Canucks fan’s spine, but that’s why today’s interview with Pettersson’s agent J.P. Barry with Don Taylor and Rick Dhaliwal on CHEK TV represents positive news.

While neither side has agreed to a number, Barry did indicate that Pettersson was open to signing a long-term deal with the Canucks.

“There’s no rush to this negotiation,” Barry said on Donnie and Dhali. “I think it’s going to just open a dialogue and everyone can talk about all the issues because I’m pretty sure we’re going to talk about a longer-term commitment this time.”

Barry indicated in June of 2021 that the Canucks’ salary cap situation was an “issue” for signing both Pettersson and Quinn Hughes to long-term deals. Hughes went on to ink a six-year deal, while Pettersson settled for a three-year pact.

Given the drama that has unfolded in Vancouver in recent years, it’s fair to wonder how long Pettersson would want to stick around.

He kept his cards close to his chest on Saturday.

“I haven’t thought too much about it,” Pettersson told reporters, referring to what will likely be the biggest contract of his life. “I like to live in the moment and just take it day by day… I like it here, but we’ll [talk about] that in the summer.”

“I think he wants to stay in Vancouver,” Barry reiterated today. “I think he just wants to make sure that there’s a really lengthy discussion about all the right things.

“It’s going to be a significant deal. I’m pretty sure this time Vancouver would like to take him on [for] as many years as they could.”

As for how much money Pettersson could command, Barry did admit that Mathew Barzal’s new eight-year contract with the New York Islanders worth $9.15 million is one of the comparables. He also referenced Matthew Tkachuk’s eight-year contract with the Florida Panthers, worth $9.5 million per season.

“I have good communication with Elias here,” Canucks GM Patrik Allvin said at the team’s year-end media availability this afternoon. “I think he really took a big step here in maturity and for most of the year, really impressive two-way hockey. Really impressive how he carried this team and also helped other players around him get better.”

Allvin thinks Pettersson can be even better going forward.

“I’m very optimistic and I just believe that he’s scratching the surface here. There’s more for him to come.”

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