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NHL Rumors: Elias Pettersson and Some Vancouver Canucks Free Agent Targets

Ben Kuzma of The Province:  No one would blame Elias Pettersson if he bet on himself this upcoming season to set up a larger contract. It is poetic that a Brock Boeser quote could apply to Pettersson for the next training camp.

“This year was a fresh start and I just felt that I needed to get back to my game,” he said. “Not overthinking things and just playing off instinct.”

Again, there are comparables to Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders. It has been widely talked about how Barzal took a three-year $7 million AAV. He makes $4 million, $7 million, then $10 million in the final year of his deal.

Pettersson is clearly happy in Vancouver and despite a shortened 2020-21 season (21 points in 26 games), the center is ready to bounce back in 2021-22. The one thing he should do first is getting a new contract done sooner rather than later. He is clearly ready for the future and focusing on the goals at hand.

Vancouver Canucks offseason targets with upside

Harman Dayal and Thomas Drance of The Athletic:  Alas, Vancouver expects to need two or three middle-six forwards to fill roster holes. Consider that the Canucks are limited with cap space. A third-line center would be ideal to free up J.T. Miller to play perhaps among the top-six forwards.

They could look within with Tyler Motte perhaps. Can he handle a third-line role? It is possible. Then, there is Mason Appleton. The Winnipeg Jets forward would fill a wing need for Vancouver. He is just 25 and has one year left in his deal. Appleton has middle-six potential at least. Warren Foegele would be another solid winger alternative.

Derek Ryan could be the two-way third-line center Vancouver needs. He has the numbers but the only number that matters for the Canucks is cap hit. Ryan is 34-years-old which could help the AAV. Other center options may include Derek Stepan and Derrick Brassard. They are also on the other side of their prime in their early 30’s.

One other possibility out of the bunch may just be Tyler Ennis. His price would still be cheap and Ennis is one year removed from a 37-point campaign. Whatever choices Vancouver does make will be intriguing as they try to stay under the salary cap.

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