Is Elias Pettersson Elite? It’s Time to Consider it.

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Elias Pettersson Elite
VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 23: Vancouver Canucks Center Elias Pettersson (40) in a reverse retro jersey on ice againts the Edmonton Oilers during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on February 23, 2021 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Is Elias Pettersson elite? Since Elias Pettersson‘s first game in the NHL for the Vancouver Canucks where he drove down the middle hard and wired a clapper by Calgary Flames veteran goalie Mike Smith, and made a diving back check there was no doubt he was something special. Three seasons later, two All-Star appearances, one Calder trophy, and at the end of his ELC (entry-level contract) the question still remains for some is Elias Pettersson elite?

Is Elias Pettersson Elite? It’s Time to Consider it.

“I don’t see Elias Pettersson as elite.”

Seeing that elite is a matter of opinion from a Toronto-centric podcaster, lets take a look at some of the facts. The problem is that there are many stats that can refute that statement. Evolving-Hockey.com has EP40 top 5 in the League for GAR (goals above replacement) this season before he was injured. He also leads his team by quite a wide margin.

That’s only one fancy stat though from before he was hurt, how about head-to-head RAPM (regularized adjusted plus-minus) with Mitch Marner last season?

 

The full conversation with the overdrive crew as well as Ray Ferraro can be listened to here. Most of the discussion center’s around how General Manager Jim Benning is possibly going to be able to lock up his two young superstar elite players in Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson. Especially after signing Thatcher Demko for $5 million by five years and Tanner Pearson for $3.25 by three years with only $17 million remaining, to fill out his entire roster.

What’s funny is just two and a half years earlier the same crew is discussing whether he should be in consideration for the Hart trophy in his Calder winning season.

Is Elias Pettersson elite?

Hockey is a team game so perhaps some of the other players make Pettersson look better than he actually is. How does Elias Pettersson compare to some of the other game-breaking players in the league?

Since Elias Pettersson came into the League

He leads his draft class in nearly every category even though he was drafted 5th overall. According to Hockey-reference.com he leads in goals (65), assists (88), points (153) and only trails Cale Makar in =/- at +19 to Makar’s +28.

Naturalstattrick.com has The Alien as he is jokingly referred to by friends for his otherworldly skill, 26th overall in Sh% at a blistering 17.05%. He is also the youngest player in the top 35 for ppg (points per game) at 0.93 and only Mitch Marner and Sebastian Aho from the previous year’s draft class are ahead of him and of similar age.

What have you done for me lately?

Pro sports are all based on results and being a contract year for Pettersson there was a lot of pressure to perform. Even with the Canucks’ slow start to the season, the top six remained largely intact and the only addition being that of young sparkplug and fellow Swede Nils Höglander to Bo Horvat‘s line. It was clear early on that he was struggling with something, whether it was a nagging injury, the pressure to perform, or just the grueling schedule the team was subjected to early on in this Covid shortened season.

The team finally shut him down in the beginning of March with an undisclosed upper-body injury. JT Miller has slid back over the top-line center and right around that time the Canucks started catching fire going 6-3-1 with EP40 watching from a safe and socially distant press box.

Canucks Get Covid

The Canucks season came to a screeching halt after nearly the entire team and coaching staff tested positive or had close contact with Covid-19. The team will finally resume play Friday, April 16th against the Edmonton Oilers their first game in over three weeks. Even though the team was playing much better hockey of late, they are certainly a much better team with Elias Pettersson in the lineup. He is an elite player on their team and given enough time to grow his game (he’s still only 22 years old) there is simply no doubt he will prove himself as one of the League’s elite players.

 

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