There was a recent push on extension talks between the Canucks and center Elias Pettersson and it appears that push helped get a deal over the finish line. The team announced that they’ve inked Pettersson to an eight-year contract extension.
GM Patrik Allvin released the following statement on the signing:
This is a very important signing for the Vancouver Canucks. Elias is one of the top players in the National Hockey League and is a key member of our leadership group. We know his best days are ahead of him and with his high end skill and desire to be the best, we look forward to seeing Elias succeed and grow. This signing is another example of our ownerships’ unwavering commitment to do what ever it takes to help us be a successful organization.
Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed by the team but Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reports (Twitter link) that the deal is worth $92.8MM in total for an AAV of $11.6MM. Chris Johnston of TSN and The Athletic adds (Twitter link) that $47MM of the payout is in the form of signing bonuses while the contract carries a full no-move clause once he’s eligible for the 2025-26 season. CapFriendly has the full breakdown which is as follows:
2024-25: $2.5MM salary, $12MM signing bonus
2025-26: $4.5MM salary, $10MM signing bonus
2026-27: $11.0MM salary
2027-28: $9.45MM salary, $5MM signing bonus
2028-29: $7.25MM salary, $5MM signing bonus
2029-30: $3.7MM salary, $5MM signing bonus
2030-31: $3.7MM salary, $5MM signing bonus
2031-32: $3.7MM salary, $5MM signing bonus
Vancouver drafted the 25-year-old in the first round (fifth overall) back in 2017 and since then, he has gone from being a key core piece to a legitimate franchise player. Pettersson won the Calder Trophy in his rookie campaign in 2018-19 where he had 66 points and followed that up with 66 more the following season. However, an injury-riddled 2020-21 season ultimately resulted in the two sides settling on a three-year bridge deal, one that was set to expire this summer where he would have been a restricted free agent with salary arbitration eligibility and a year away from unrestricted free agency.
Pettersson made a big jump on the offensive side of things last season, setting new career highs across the board with 39 goals and 63 assists, finishing tenth in NHL scoring. That fuelled speculation that the two sides would work out a long-term agreement last summer and put any speculation to rest. However, Pettersson and his camp had repeatedly indicated that his preference was to wait until the offseason before making a determination on his next contract.
This season, Pettersson’s per-game averages are down just slightly as he’s on pace for 38 goals and 61 assists, numbers that are still upper-tier league-wide while he is an all-situations player. That had only helped spur on speculation about his willingness to sign long-term with the Canucks since he was still wanting to wait until the offseason to put pen to paper on his next contract. That speculation got to the point where Vancouver and Carolina reportedly entered into serious discussions about a potential trade before both Vancouver and Pettersson took a step back and opted to take a real run at hammering out a new deal, talks which clearly proved fruitful.
The contract is by far the richest in franchise history, an outcome that shouldn’t come as much surprise considering Pettersson’s recent performance and the high demand for top-end centers. The deal will make him the fifth-highest-paid player AAV-wise in the NHL next season behind only Auston Matthews, Nathan MacKinnon, Connor McDavid, and Artemi Panarin.
Vancouver now has a little over $60MM in spending on the books for next season per CapFriendly to just a dozen players with Filip Hronek headlining their crop of restricted free agents. Of note, only two full-time regular defensemen are under contract for 2024-25 so Allvin will need to allocate a lot of their remaining money to filling out the back end. Meanwhile, Pettersson is now one of just three Canucks under contract past the 2026-27 campaign, joining center J.T. Miller and blueliner Quinn Hughes.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.