TSN Insider Chris Johnston is reporting that pending restricted free agent Elias Pettersson still doesn’t appear to be in any rush to sign a contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks. Pettersson is under Canucks control for one more season after this one and Johnston wonders if Pettersson might elect to go to arbitration with the club and accept a one-year contract, or take a qualifying offer which would come in north of $8MM.
While that news might not sit well with Canucks fans, it appears that Pettersson’s logic for the holding pattern might be to try and get a better sense of where the NHL salary cap ceiling is going before he puts pen to paper on a long-term deal.
The 25-year-old is off to a terrific start this season with eight goals and 20 assists in 20 games for the surprising Canucks who currently sit second in the Pacific Division with a 13-6-1 record. Many thought that Pettersson could be in a holding pattern to see what the future of the Canucks looked like before signing a new deal, but 20 games into the season it doesn’t appear as though the Canucks hot start has moved the needle for Pettersson.
The native of Sundsvall, Sweden is coming off a season in which he registered 39 goals and 63 assists in 80 games and is currently on pace for a 114-point season should he dress in all 82 games this year. It appears the longer Pettersson waits, the higher his price is going to climb, barring an injury or a massive slump at some point this season.
The Canucks are in a reasonably good salary cap situation beyond this year, and it shouldn’t be an issue fitting in a cap hit that is at or around the $10MM per season that Pettersson is sure to be seeking on a long-term deal. But until he signs that deal, there is sure to be a cloud of doubt surrounding Pettersson’s long-term future in Vancouver.