It’s not easy being a rookie in the NHL. Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson will be out at least seven to ten days with a concussion according to Bob McKenzie of TSN, after being thrown forcefully to the ice by Florida Panthers defenseman Michael Matheson. Pettersson was taken out of the game immediately, and though he’s still travelling with the team, will not be put back into the lineup until he’s completely free of symptoms. The Canucks will play it safe with the young phenom, who has shown the potential to be a star already in the league but could be a target for his entire career because of his slight frame. Adam Gaudette is expected to be recalled to replace him on the roster.
Pettersson, 19, was off to a tremendous start to the season with five goals and nine points in his first five NHL contests. The fifth-overall pick from 2017 had an early edge in the Calder Trophy race, especially given his role as the engine of the Canucks offense already. That unfortunately will come to an end for at least a few games, and perhaps even longer as the team can’t afford to rush him back and risk any long-term damage. Though Vancouver has been exciting this season, the team is looking towards the future and Pettersson’s a huge part of their competitive window that will soon open.
For his part, Matheson had a phone hearing with the NHL this morning and could face some supplementary discipline. More than 75% of voters here at PHR believed he should earn some type of suspension, given the force and perceived intent of the hit. The fact that Pettersson has suffered a concussion will factor into the NHL’s decision, though they will have to deem it a suspendable offence, and not just an unfortunate result.