It has been an unbelievable season for Elias Pettersson and this just adds onto his already storied rookie season. Pettersson has been the number one guy in Vancouver all season and has been paired perfectly with one of the best shooters in the NHL, Brock Boeser. There is only good things to come in Vancouver with Pettersson’s play-making ability and vision plus Boeser’s shot the two will be causing nightmares for NHL goalies for years to come.
On the year Pettersson has 27 goals and 34 assists which securely puts him as the highest scoring Canucks rookie in franchise history. Pettersson has 61 points surpassing Pavel Bure and Ivan Hlinka for possession of first place among rookie points in Canucks franchise.
To say it has been a slow month for Pettersson is crazy also, in his 8 games this month he only has 5 points. I say only because in the previous four months he played plus four games in January he has been a point per game or better player.
Pettersson had 10 points in eight October games, 12 points in fourteen November games, 17 points in fourteen December games, 6 points in four January games, 11 points in fourteen February games and now 5 points in eight March games.
There is only up from here for Pettersson he has the making to be a Hart Trophy and Art Ross trophy finalist for sure. He has 61 points right now and 62 games in, with 10 games to play we can assume he will finish anywhere between 65-70 points. Which will put him 8th among rookie scoring since 1998.
Quinn Hughes the Canucks 7th overall selection in the 2018 Draft signed an entry level contract with the Canucks and is expected to make his NHL debut 10-games from today.
Quinn Hughes has spent the last two seasons with the University of Michigan, where he collected 69 games in 2 season tallying 62 points (10G, 52A). Hughes is considered an elite level defenseman and is going to be another bright spot for the Canucks. Aside from the size issue some see in his game, Hughes makes up for it with his impeccable stride, vision and hockey awareness.
Hughes was founded during the U.S. National Team where he played 65 games collecting 53 points (10G, 43A) as well during the World Juniors U18 team playing in 7 games with 5 points. Hughes is the definition of a puck moving defenseman, he possess an unbelievable mind for the offensive side of things ans will bring a ton of value to the Canucks back end.
Hughes contract was 3-years at 4.812 total contract worth. He signed the max entry level contract you can sign at $916,666 plus potential bonuses of $362,500 the first year and $850,000 the next two years in addition to a $92,500 signing bonus.
Nothing major in the hockey world but as the trade deadline nears there two somewhat minor deals. Edmonton made two of these deals, one of them involved re-acquiring Sam Gagner and the other was receiving back up goalie Anthony Stolarz.
Flyers swap back up goalies
The Flyers sent Anthony Stolarz to Edmonton for goalie Cam Talbot. Stolarz was the Flyers 2nd round 45th overall pick in the 2012 draft. He played 19 games with the Flyers going 6-4-4 with a 2.86 GAA and .911 save percentage. The Flyers pick up veteran goaltender Cam Talbot who spent his first two seasons in New York and then was sent to Edmonton in 2015 where he has been since.
This move was more of a move for Carter Hart I think, they know that Hart is going to be their number one and they know Stolarz could possibly be a number one too. Therefore instead of causing any controversy, they add a goalie who is at the end of his prime time, can be a 25-30 game goalie therefore when Hart is 22-23-years-old he will be in a perfect situation to be a true #1 and Talbot can mentor and guide him for these next two years. The only issue with this now is that the Flyers are paying 10+ million dollars in goaltending. With still Brian Elliott and Michael Neuvirth on pay roll their 5.2 million is useless basically. Plus Talbot is a UFA in the off-season so the Flyers will need to decide what to do with Talbot come the end of this season. Overall I believe Edmonton wins this deal due to the young age and potential of Stolarz.
Spooner on the move again…
Ryan Spooner was sent to the Rangers at the middle of last trade deadline. Stayed with the Rangers for a bit then was sent to Edmonton earlier this season and now to Vancouver. He’s been bounced around to three teams within less than a year . Spooner played 25 games on Edmonton scoring 2 goals and 1 assist. This season he has 3 goals and 2 assists in 41 games. The Oilers do re-acquire their 2007 1st round selection in Sam Gagner. Gagner played 481 games with Edmonton scoring 101 goals collecting 194 assists. Gagner knows the Edmonton area very well and they know him therefore the transition should be easy for the veteran forward. As far as Vancouver they really risk nothing getting Ryan Spooner, he will be a third to fourth line guy that mixes well into their younger style of play.
I tried to make this sound as polite as possible but what a disaster this Western Conference wild card race has been. It goes to show one of the many reasons that the last three Stanley Cup winners has come from the Eastern Conference but also this could mean that maybe these teams a top the Western Conference are not that good. But back to the main point of this article.
How can a conference have a wild card race like this, a team that is basically below .500 is in the run for the wild card right now. A team that was once 16 points out of a spot is in the run for a wild card and in the last wild card spot (Blues). I am just completely blown away by the fact that at this point in the season, 52 games in 63 percent of the season played we still have no idea what is going to happen in the Western Conference wild card.
St. Louis Blues (25-22-5) 55 points (2nd wild card spot)
Vancouver Canucks (24-24-7) 55 points
Colorado Avalanche (22-22-9) 53 points
Edmonton Oilers (24-25-5) 53 points
Chicago Blackhawks (22-24-9) 53 points
The fact the Edmonton Oilers are two points out of a wild card spot is embarrassing, they have won 6 of their last 15 games a record of 6-9 in the last 15 makes you a playoff team I guess now.
The Canucks who have won 4 of their last 14 games, a 4-10 record is a playoff contending team. Just looking at this race it is a complete disaster, any team can squeak in at this point so if you are a gambling man just throw money on all six teams to make the playoffs you’ll probably walk away with some money at this point. Not to mention the Ducks who have won TWO games in their last seven and a half weeks and have been outscored 31-6 are four points out of a wild card spot. Argument closed.
The reason this race for the wild card in the West irks me a little is because any of these teams that get into the first round are going to get bounced in four to five games. Which honestly just kills NHL viewership, ratings and the growth of the game in a sense. If you are not a die hard NHL fan there is not a chance in h double hockey sticks you are watching a Blues-Flames playoff matchup.
Can anyone else shed some light here? MY prediction is that the Canucks and Blues sneak into the playoffs. Or should I say those are the two teams I would like to see make it.
The Canucks have been quite the surprise this year and no one is covering it. They are ONE point out of a wild card spot but do have a game up on every other team. The Canucks are fifth in the Pacific division despite a 11 point difference with them and Vegas the third place team in that division. They are tenth in the Western Conference and 20th in the NHL. They have a record of 21-21-6 at the moment and just before the All-Star break, they finish January with three home games vs Buffalo, Detroit and Carolina.
The Canucks are ranked 16th in the NHL in goals for with 137, 9th in goals against with 148. Nineteenth in goals per game (2.85), tenth in goals against per game (3.08), twenty-first in power play percentage (17.3), twenty-third in penalty kill (78.3) and finally 26th in shots for per game (29.0).
The Canucks have missed Pettersson for 10 games now and are still in a playoff spot, have not even come close to seeing Brock Boeser’s best this season yet and again are still in the hunt. The Canucks have been a mildly successful team this season due to Bo Horvat consistency, Elias Pettersson taking the league by storm, depth guys chiming in when needed and Jacob Markstrom standing strong in net.
The Canucks are seeing a decent amount of production from Nikolay Goldobin (23 in 44), Loui Eriksson (19 in 48), Jake Virtanen (18 in 48), Antoine Roussel (18 in 43) but more importantly their defense has been pretty involved in the scoring. Alexander Edler has 19 points in 33 games, Ben Hutton has 17 points in 46 games and Try Stecher has 14 points in 44 games.
If the Canucks are to get back Pettersson healthy and back to his normal production, Horvat keeps his game up, Boeser increases his goal-scoring, Virtanen and Granlund step up and Markstrom stands strong they have a chance to squeak into the playoffs. Emphasis on when saying squeak hold the “k” for 2-3 seconds, because there only chance to make it is by squeaking in.
We went from Matt Barzal, Brock Boeser, Clayton Keller, Yanni Gourde, Kyle Connor rookie of the year race in 2017-18 to a dominate, no discussion Elias Pettersson Calder race now. Sure, Barzal out scored the other rookies by 20+ points but at this point last year it was a race. Barzal was not a clear winner by December. Yet, here we are in December of 2018 and Elias Pettersson has 30 points in 26 games, a 1.15 point per game with 15 goals and 15 assists. The next rookie up is Colin White who has 19 points in 30 games, then Brady Tkachuk with 16 points in 20 games, Miro Heiskanen with 15 points in 30 games.
It is clear as day that Pettersson is a clear favorite and most likely going to win the Calder if all pans out well, he stays healthy and stays with Brock Boeser on that line. As of now Pettersson is projected to exceed Barzal’s point total last year (85). Pettersson is projected to total 94.3 points so 94 points. My prediction for Pettersson is that he totals the same as Barzal probably around 80-85 points. A 1.15 per game player is tough in this league to maintain for a full 82 game year, plus he is going to hit a plateau at some point, no? Either way the whole point of this article is to say, Elias Pettersson great job winning the Calder trophy.