The Carolina Hurricanes successfully signing Jesperi Kotkaniemi from the Montreal Canadiens generated considerable buzz among NHL fans and pundits. It also sparked conjecture over which of this summer's remaining RFAs could also receive offer sheets.
Topping that list is the Vancouver Canucks' Elias Pettersson. The 22-year-old center would be a tempting target given the scarcity of first-line centers in the trade and UFA markets. Since 2018-19, he's paced the Canucks in assists (88), while his 153 points tie him with Bo Horvat for the team lead.
Contract talks between Pettersson and the Canucks have been ongoing throughout the off-season. He raised eyebrows in a recent interview when he said he wants to stay in Vancouver but stressed his desire to play for a winning club.
Pat Brisson, one of Pettersson's agents, told The Province's Patrick Johnston getting deals done can take time. Brisson stressed there was no immediate deadline to get the young center and teammate Quinn Hughes under contract and no holdup in negotiations.
That hasn't alleviated concern that Pettersson could sign an offer sheet. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported the club has worried about that possibility throughout the summer. “When they saw what happened with Kotkaniemi they wondered, 'Uh oh, will that happen with us?' with Pettersson,” he said.
The cost to a rival team of signing away Pettersson should allay that concern. It could take a multi-year offer of between $9 million and $10 million per season to entice the youngster. Factor in the compensatory picks (two firsts, a second and a third) and he becomes a player few clubs can afford.