Elias Pettersson press conference after signing contract extension
(Screenshot/ Vancouver Canucks YouTube)

The Vancouver Canucks secured the future of their young superstar on Saturday, signing center Elias Pettersson to an 8-year, $92.8 million contract extension.

The new deal, which kicks in next season, will carry an annual average value of $11.6 million.

In a press conference on Saturday morning, a smiling Pettersson expressed his excitement about the extension. “I’m super excited, this is where I wanted to be,” he said. “We have an exciting group and believe we can do good things in the future.”

Pettersson cited his strong relationships with Canucks president Jim Rutherford and general manager Patrik Allvin as key factors in deciding to remain in Vancouver long-term.

The 25-year-old Swede had a career year in 2022-23, when he posted 39 goals and 63 assists for 102 points. This season, he has 29 goals and 46 assists in 62 games as the Canucks sit atop the Western Conference standings.

“Elias is one of the top players in the NHL and a key member of our leadership group,” said Allvin. “We know his best days are still ahead.”

Allvin added that locking up Pettersson provides clarity on the team’s salary cap situation heading into the trade deadline next week. The GM can now focus on adding pieces around his core stars.

Media reaction to Pettersson’s extension has been overwhelmingly positive. The contract is being hailed as a “massive win” and “tremendous value” for the Canucks, as Pettersson likely could have commanded even more money on the open market. His $11.6 million cap hit puts him just outside the top tier of NHL stars in terms of salary.

At the press conference on Saturday afternoon, Pettersson fielded questions about the negotiation process and his future in Vancouver. “I’m very happy we got a deal done,” he said. “I can focus on playing hockey now.”

Overall, Pettersson was all smiles at the press conference, cracking jokes while also sincerely expressing his happiness to sign an 8-year deal. His humor and authenticity shone through.

With their franchise cornerstone signed long-term, the Canucks appear poised to be contenders in the Western Conference for years to come.

And Elias Pettersson will be leading the charge.