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THE MOJ: Timing was everything in Canucks closing the Pettersson deal

Too many things going on to let talks wait any longer, too many reasons to sign
Vancouver Canucks’ Elias Pettersson attends a news conference regarding his eight year contract extension with the team in Vancouver, on Saturday, Mar. 2, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns

That didn’t take long.

After months of no movement between the Vancouver Canucks and the agents for star forward Elias Pettersson, a new contract was announced this past Saturday after just a few days of negotiations.

We all know that Pettersson had stated that he wanted to focus on hockey this year and let the negotiations on a new deal wait until after the season.

Many believed that Pettersson wanted to see which direction the team was headed in with the relatively new management regime and head coach Rick Tocchet.

Yet there were always rumblings about a deal getting done sooner.

So why now?

Why after months of no progress between the Canucks and Pettersson’s agents - J.P. Barry and Pat Brisson from Creative Artists Agency – did a deal get done in a matter of days?

The first domino to fall was the report by HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman on Feb. 24 in which he stated that the Canucks were getting offers on Pettersson but the organization’s goal was to re-sign the 25-year-old.

That was followed up by another report from The Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli that Carolina had made a substantial offer to Vancouver for Pettersson. That story added more fuel to the fire and didn’t go over too well with the Canucks management team. Apparently, the source of that story came from within the Carolina organization, which irked the Canucks.

As much as Pettersson’s contract status was a non-story with the media covering the team on a daily basis given the Swede’s embargo on any contract discussions, the noise with the national media was getting to be too much for all parties concerned.

And don’t even get me started in terms of how much of a lightning rod Pettersson had become on social media, where the 25-year-old’s play and contract status had become an extremely polarizing topic for Canuck Nation.

The situation reached a critical mass early last week when Canucks President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford and general manager Patrik Allvin met with Pettersson at Rogers Arena to find out the latter’s intentions as the story was to the point where it had become a major distraction for the hockey club and even the player himself.

And not only was the situation becoming a distraction, the organization clearly wanted to have some clarity when it came to cost certainty with the NHL trade deadline around the corner.

Even Barry and Brisson agreed that there was too much going on and that negotiations could not wait until the end of the year.

The end result is that Pettersson gave the green light to get the deal done and in a matter of days, all parties involved came to an agreement on the richest contract ever given to a Canuck player with Pettersson putting pen to paper on an eight-year $92.8 million dollar deal.

Pettersson even admitted afterwards that he was ‘human’ and that the situation had impacted him.

One look at Pettersson’s monthly splits for January and February would back that up.

In January, Petterson had 14 goals and 7 assists for 21 points and a +8 rating in 18 games. In February, Petterson again played in 18 games but with only 2 goals and 9 assists for 11 points with a -4 rating.

Pettersson did score for the first time in six games with the goal coming in Tuesday’s 2-1 overtime win over the Los Angeles Kings at Arena.

It was his 30th goal of the season -becoming the 73rd Canuck to reach that milestone.

With a new contract in hand, Canuck Nation is hoping it’s a harbinger of things to come.


* “That was kind of a playoff style. I just liked the resolve. I think our second period was really one of our best periods of the month. Then managing the third and Millsy coming up with a big goal,” said Tocchet afterwards.

* Pettersson’s goal was also the 399th point of his career. J.T. Miller’s overtime winner extended his points streak to eight games (7-7-14). The Kings lone goal came from Trevor Moore.

* Vancouver’s Thatcher Demko had a strong game between the pipes making 21 of 22 saves while Los Angeles Kings goalie Cam Talbot stopped 25 of 27. The Canucks finally solved Talbot, who entered the game with a lifetime record of a 12-3-4 with a goals-against-average of 1.99 against Vancouver.

* With an assist on the Pettersson goal, Hughes hit the 60-assist mark for the third consecutive season and joined some elite company in that regard. Only Bobby Orr (six times), Ray Bourque (five times) and Paul Coffey (fives times and three times) have racked up 60 or more assists three or more consecutive seasons.

* Defenseman Carson Soucy returned to the lineup after missing 17 games due to a hand injury suffered in the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 20. His return was perfectly timed considering that defenseman Tyler Myers is out week-to-week with what the team is calling a lower -body injury.

* Simon Fraser University basketball legend Jay Triano took in the contest. Triano is currently an assistant coach with Sacramento Kings of the NBA, who were in SoCal to play the Lakers the following night.

Veteran B.C. sports personality Bob “the Moj” Marjanovich writes twice weekly for Black Press Media.

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