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Elias Pettersson Deal with Canucks Delayed By Big Summer Move

Elias Pettersson faces a pivotal decision on contract extension timing influenced by Auston Matthews’ precedent.

As the summer unfolds, the spotlight turns to Elias Pettersson and his agents as they navigate a critical decision: whether to secure a contract extension now and lock in with the Vancouver Canucks early, or venture into the upcoming season with the flexibility to see how things unfold before committing. With one season remaining on his current contract, the next deal between the team and the player has the potential to be franchise-changing over the next few seasons.

One of the things holding up that decision appears to be the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming extension between the Toronto Maple Leafs and forward Auston Matthews. Specifically, Pettersson wants to know what Matthews’ next deal is going to look like financially, because he may try to use the contract and Matthew’s strategy as a comparable in negotiations with Vancouver.

Related: Canucks Sign Pius Suter to Two-Year, $1.6 M AAV Contract

Insights from Harman Dayal, reported by The Athletic, shed light on an intriguing perspective provided by an anonymous NHL agent. This agent contemplates the possibility that while Matthews is not expected to offer the Toronto Maple Leafs any kind of discount, his new contract could elevate the earning potential of other star players across the league, including Pettersson. And, as the Canucks try to convince Pettersson they’ll be a competitive team, the forward isn’t sure he wants to stick around, especially if the money isn’t there to overlook what could be a handful of rocky seasons.

Elias Pettersson Vancouver Canucks
Elias Pettersson Vancouver Canucks

Matthews, with a year left before he becomes an unrestricted free agent (UFA), appears to favor a short-term contract in Toronto, allowing flexibility for his future choices. Pettersson might feel the same way, especially if Vancouver’s window to win doesn’t open during his prime seasons. And, as Pettersson approaches the end of his restricted free agent status, he has the choice to position himself in a good spot with UFA eligibility a year away. This has led to a crossroads, with no news of a deal, especially as the Matthews extension takes some time to get done.

Pettersson Might Elect to Wait and See

Adopting a prudent and patient strategy could present several advantages for Pettersson. Drawing parallels from the potential impact of Matthews’ extension, Pettersson might consider signing a contract spanning two to five years. This approach provides him with invaluable flexibility and the chance to reevaluate his options and potentially hit the free agency market again while still in his 20s.

He may never make what Matthews does in terms of a yearly salary, but there aren’t a lot of other contracts to use as comparables as the salary cap is expected to jump in the next few seasons. Pettersson wants to make the right decision and not jump into anything. That poses a potential problem for the Canucks, who likely want to get a long-term deal done as soon as humanly possible.

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