NHL contract grades: Elias Pettersson and Canucks agree to win-win deal

The contract

Vancouver Canucks sign Elias Pettersson to an eight-year, $11.6 million AAV extension.

There’s nothing like the threat of being sent to Carolina, aka Little Finland, to get the ball rolling on a major extension for the best Swede in the league. Elias Pettersson will be a Vancouver Canuck for the next eight seasons and it’s fantastic news for everyone involved.

For the Canucks, they lock in their franchise player at max term and they do it at a pretty reasonable cost: $11.6 million per season. That’s notably only $100,000 more than William Nylander’s deal signed a couple months ago which makes the deal look even better in context.

Pettersson is arguably already the better player and should have a higher probability of staying at that level given his age and pedigree. It’s clear the Nylander deal was used as a comparable — the cost of signing a 95-point true talent player — and the Canucks get the better end of that. Staying under $12 million is a tidy piece of business for the caliber of player Pettersson is. He’s a franchise talent who can produce big numbers and drive play incredibly well. Pettersson is one of the major cornerstones of Vancouver’s future and keeping him around for the long haul is a massive win.

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That $12 million baseline is key because it’s roughly Pettersson’s fair market value. And while the Canucks stayed under it, it wasn’t far enough below to make this deal not worth it for Pettersson. On the open market over eight years, with future cap growth factored for, Pettersson is projected to provide $11.9 million worth of value on average over the life of his deal. A $300,000 haircut isn’t a huge deal nor a huge steal. Pettersson is getting very close to his worth on his new contract which is always nice to see for players at this echelon who normally take big pay cuts for what they provide. (See: Pastrnak, David or MacKinnon, Nathan).

This is an extremely fair deal for both sides and it’s hard to get too strung out in either direction. It’s a win for the Canucks as they lock up their best forward at a reasonable price with a small morsel of surplus value. And it’s a win for Pettersson who gets big money commensurate with his abilities.

If there’s a small edge here it belongs to the Canucks who get a bit more upside on this deal. Pettersson’s current projection can and will fluctuate throughout the next eight years and it feels more likely that there’s more upside than downside ane on his current expectation. He’s projected to be a 90-to-95-point player, but that may be a little light given his last two seasons spent playing at a 100-point pace. If he can consistently produce at that level while driving play to the elite degree he always has, this deal will only look stronger for Vancouver.

Either way, it’s a win-win for both the team and player.

Canucks grade: A-
Pettersson grade: B+

(Top photo: Derek Cain / Getty Images)

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