It was speculated all season long but now it’s officially official: Elias Pettersson has been nominated for the Calder Trophy. He’s up against Jordan Binnington(St.Louis) and Rasmus Dahlin(Buffalo), two players who have also made quite a mark in their own rookie seasons for their respective teams.
This post however is all about Pettersson. Not to take away from either of the other candidates, but what Pettersson did for the Canucks was remarkable. From the moment he was drafted in 2017, his doubters and critics were convinced he was the wrong choice. Last season, he racked up all the records playing in Sweden and turning heads but still leaving many wondering if he could translate that success in the NHL. He changed the mindset of his early critics from the media to the fans and that of his teammates as he eased into the first year of his NHL career with the poise of a veteran.
From his very first game, he hushed any doubts that anyone had about him being able to play in the league. Every game when he was on the ice, whether he scored a goal or not, his vision of the game was something to behold. Every shift, he had fans on the edge of their seats, and every goal/assist scored, he brought them to their feet.
Can we talk about his FIRST NHL goal and the reaction he had to hearing the crowd’s thunderous ovation?
Or how about that magic he dished to Boeser against the Avs when he channeled his inner Sedinery? I have to tell you, being in the arena for this game and witnessing Pettersson’s 5-point night was all kinds of incredible.
Or his penalty shot goal vs. Nashville?
Or his first career hat trick that included the OT game winning goal?!
Or the fact that as a rookie, he had THIS move in his shootout arsenal?!
Insane, yes? Pettersson plays with a quiet confidence and energy that he passes along to his teammates. His confidence was contagious among his teammates and re-ignited a hope for the team’s future among the fans.
Those are only a few of a myriad of Pettersson highlights this past season. What an incredible opening to his career, giving Canucks and hockey fans a glimpse of what’s to come. This is only the beginning, the kid is something special. When it comes down to the award, I hope that it’s Pettersson’s name being called in June but it’s a tough competitive trio this year yet again. Whether he wins the Calder or not, he made Canucks fans beyond proud with his inaugural season.
As always, until next time, nuck said.