Elias Pettersson – 2017 Canucks Prospect Development Camp Round-up
By: Connor Jung
You don’t have to go too far back to see where I had Pettersson ranked in my top 10 Mock Draft — he wasn’t. He made my honourable mentions list, though, and had top 5 consideration early on, but by Draft Day he ultimately left much to be desired. A couple aspects of his game that had me worried were the late-birthday effect, his sudden point serge playing alongside top prospect Jonathan Dahlen, and his slight frame with no guarantee that he’ll fill out.
Jonathan Dahlen is an interesting caveat, though, because with the Pettersson pick came an added bonus of built-in chemistry between both players that was on full display at the Summer Showcase. While their chemistry is different from what we have seen from the Sedins — who people often compare them to — they are less specialized, but more cerebral since both players are threats to score and have offsetting levels of grit and finesse to them.
There is a bite to Pettersson’s game that I liked. As a highly touted prospect and 5th overall selection, Pettersson always has a target on his back. The game-plan against him is to take advantage of his physical immaturity and this will only be magnified on the smaller ice here in North America. There was a prime example during the scrimmage of Pettersson and Gaudette battling down below the goal-line, and Gaudette basically took every penalty in the book without being called for one. However, Pettersson didn't backdown, if anything he invited contact and used his body well to protect pucks — it reminded me a lot of Pavel Datsyuk in that regard.
If not validated by the oohs and aahs of season ticket holders last Thursday, Pettersson’s ability to make plays in tight quarters, strong puck protection and sneaky shot is a toolset to be very excited for as he grows into his frame. Scouting reports have knocked his skating, and I have to agree with Ray Ferraro in that I don’t think his skating is poor as it is more a by-product of being so tall/lanky and not fully having his feet and balance under him. Referencing the same drill in the Boeser section, Pettersson showed a strong first step and his crossover acceleration is superb:
Pettersson will most likely start in the SHL next season and continue to develop his two-way game while maturing into his wiry 6' 2" frame. He's be a player that'll have a great opportunity to lead Team Sweden at the 2018 World Juniors and be a dominant player in that tournament. Time will only tell.