It’s all about winning. The Vancouver Canucks RFA centre Elias Pettersson had a chat with Swedish reporter Uffe Bodin that was released earlier today on the Hockey Sweden website hockeysverige.se. ‘Petey’ summarized his thoughts this way as he looks to ink a new deal before the season …
“My agents do all the talking (with the Canucks), and then they inform me about what’s going on. Right now, we’re not in an agreement, but I’m not worried that we’re not going to solve it eventually. Both parties need to be happy in order to find a solution, but I’m not worried about that.
I want to stay there (Vancouver) now, but I also want to play for a team that’s winning and has a chance to go far into the playoffs every year. I feel like we’ve got a chance to do that next year. If we have that chance when my next deal expires … I don’t know. I just wanna play where there’s a chance of winning.”
These aren’t unusual comments for a player to make, and obviously it’s a bit premature to be talking about the strength or position of the hockey club at the time his next deal comes around, when he hasn’t even signed this one yet. But a reader or listener gets the concept clearly. He wants to play for a playoff team now and on a regular basis and he hopes Vancouver will remain the place to do it. Or … he’ll consider moving along. Again, he’s getting ahead of himself.
For those a bit more cynical or neurotic, one might contemplate that Pettersson is dangling a bit of offer-sheet bait. He is eligible for one, but it’s not bloody likely. The Canucks will match regardless. Again, it does send a basic message: I want to play for a contender.
This clear message also just adds another sprinkle of pressure on a management and coaching staff that knows, for its own survival, playoff hockey needs to start happening now for the Vancouver Canucks. Getting Pettersson under contract will be one of the next big steps in that direction.