It looks like young Vancouver Canucks star Elias Pettersson could be at a crossroads with the only NHL team that he's suited up for in his career, which is still in relative infancy. The two-time all-star and 2019 Calder Trophy winner has established himself as one of the game's top young forwards, but he's looking for more than just individual success - he wants to play for a winner, and have annual access to the intense competition that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
His team didn't have much of a shot at the annual tournament this year following an outbreak of COVID-19 within the organization, combined with Pettersson missing the final 30 games of the season due to a wrist injury. Of course, this resulted on Vancouver being on the outside looking in for the second out of three years that Pettersson has suited up for them.
He's now a restricted free-agent, and during a recent interview with Uffe Bodin of Hockeysverige, the Swedish native said that while his preference is indeed to remain with the Canucks, he wants to also enjoy consistent winning.
"I want to stay (in Vancouver) now, but I also want to play for a team that's winning and has the chance to go far into the playoffs every year," Pettersson said in Swedish as translated by Bodin.
"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 want to play where there's a chance of winning."
He then explained that his agents are taking care of contractual details, and while the two sides have yet to reach an agreement, he's not worried.d
" My agents do all the talking (with the Canucks), and then they inform me about what's going on," he explained. "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."
After he was selected fifth overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Pettersson has 65 goals and 153 points in 165 career NHL games. Last season, he tallied 10 goals and 11 assists in 26 games.