The future of the Vancouver Canucks franchise lies in Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson. Both players are restricted free agents and remain an offseason priority for GM Jim Benning to sign.
There’s a general belief around the hockey world that Hughes is the more likely of the two to be signed long-term, with Pettersson being given a bridge deal.
Per CapFriendly, Vancouver has around $13 million in cap space to get their deals done. The expectation is that it will take more than that, so another trade to move out some salary is in the cards.
Elias Pettersson on contract talks
In a new Swedish interview with Uffe Bodin for Hockey Sverige, Pettersson candidly gave an update on his contract talks.
“My agent (JP Barry) handles it and informs me with what’s going on,” Pettersson said. “Right now, we’re not in agreement but I’m not worried that we’re not going to solve it eventually.”
The Canucks 22 year-old star center is happy in Vancouver, at least for now.
“I want to stay there, but I also want to play for a team that’s winning and has the chance to go far into the playoffs every year,” Pettersson explained.
“I feel like we’ve got a chance to do that next year. If we have that chance when my next deal expires,” he paused, “I don’t know. I just want to play where there’s a chance of winning.”
This past season, Pettersson struggled with injuries but managed 21 points in 26 games. He is an integral piece to any success the Canucks hope to have.
This negotiations have been dragging on
“This is where I want to play,” Pettersson told the press back in May. “Agents are working on it to make sure both parties are happy. I’m not stressed to sign a contract. I am actually excited to get that signed and look forward to the future.”
We are now a good two months in with no end in sight.
“There’s been multiple talks (with the Canucks),” JP Barry said in June on CHEK TV. “we’ll have to keep going for a little while here. But we definitely are engaged, and hopefully, we can make some progress.”
The issue at the time was Vancouver’s salary cap situation which Barry called out. That will make it very hard to do a long term deal. Maybe for one, but unlikely for both. Although it has improved, this still remains true.
“We’re going to look at everything, but I think anything for Pettersson will be five or under, and then we have to look at with Quinn whether or not we can do a little more or not,” Barry explained. “We’ll probably explore some of that, but that’s where we are right now.”
There’s always the threat of an offer sheet, but that probability remains unlikely in a flat-cap environment.