Elias Pettersson is still waiting. The restricted free agent needs a new deal and one has yet to come. While the Vancouver Canucks make a number of offseason changes, he’s without a new contract and while the situation is a bit frustrating, he says he’s also not worried. Pettersson spoke with hockeysverige.se about the negotiations of a new deal, along with team changes and there are some interesting quotes coming from that interview that have some fans in Vancouver a bit concerned.
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It’s important to note that Pettersson still seemed positive about the Canucks and signing an extension. It’s also important to note that the message can often get lost in translation a little. Still, after a tough season where he dealt with an injury, plus a trying campaign for the Canucks in which the team was not very good, to suggest a long-term priority for Pettersson is winning seems to have some wondering what that really means. Is there an underlying message being sent by Pettersson to the Canucks organization? Everyone wants to win, but is icing a competitive team — or in this case, failing to do so — delaying things with Pettersson?
On Wednesday, Tre Kronor held a press conference in central Stockholm with NHL players who could be part of this winter’s Olympic team. Pettersson was in that group. He was asked about his situation with the Canucks.
He noted that his agent is doing all the negotiations with the Canucks and while the two sides aren’t getting anything accomplished, he’s confident a deal will get done. He said, “I want to stay there (Vancouver) now, but I also want to play for a team that’s winning and has the chance to go far in the playoffs every year. He added, “I feel like we’ve got the chance to do that next year.
If we have that chance when my contract expires… I don’t know.” He ended with, “I just wanna to play where there’s a chance of winning.”
Following Pettersson’s comments about winning, Rick Dhaliwal of CHEK News reported that the two sides continue to talk about a deal, but nothing is close right now. One of Pettersson’s agents, J.P. Barry said of the talks, “The Canucks have cap issues. I don’t think we can do long-term deals for Petey and Quinn. We have started the dance; we are engaged in talks.”
Pettersson is a restricted free agent, so the Canucks have most of the leverage here. The team has already said they’d match an offer sheet if one was extended. But, if Pettersson isn’t keen to sign a long-term deal because he doesn’t believe Vancouver is a playoff team, this bridge deal might be the beginning of talk that he could be moving on.
Maybe it’s too soon to jump the gun on Pettersson being willing to go elsewhere. Teams have to prove to talented RFAs all the time that they’re in it to win it. Let’s hope for the Canucks’ sake that this season is a bit improvement over last season. It sounds like Pettersson is closely watching.
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