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Rick Tocchet praises Elias Pettersson’s early season success

Elias Pettersson

(Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports)

Rick Tocchet Canucks
Canucks forward Rick Tocchet is off to a blazing hot start to begin the 2023-24 season. (Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports)

Rick Tocchet praises Elias Pettersson’s early season success

The Vancouver Canucks have been off to a shockingly hot start to the 2023-24 season. Much of this is thanks to young forward Elias Pettersson, who is regarded as one of the best two-way forwards in the league, and Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet couldn’t agree more.

“I think he understands what it’s going to take to win,” he told reporters Monday. “Like the Sidney Crosby‘s of the world, Stevie Yzerman back in the day, Joe Sakic–those guys got their points, but they played a 200-foot game. They played situational hockey. I think he knows that. He’s not bucking the system.”

Pettersson has tallied one goal and five helpers in just three games this season. But it hasn’t only been scoring that has elevated Pettersson’s name in the league. His defense has triumphed him into stardom. Posting four hits, two blocks and one takeaway.

Last season, Pettersson ranked second in shot blocks with 89–only sitting behind Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews.

“We were laughing, I told him he’s played with every player on the team. … He told the coach, ‘I don’t care,’ which is nice,” Tocchet said. “He’s not bitching about it, he just wants to get on the ice in certain situations. … And I think he enjoys that.”

Pettersson is tied for the second-most points in the league so far this season. Ranking only behind Edmonton Oilers star forward Leon Draisaitl (7).

The 24-year-old Swedish sensation fully broke out last season. Not just offensively, but defensively as well. The Sundsvall native finished the 2022-23 campaign with career highs in points (102), goals (39) and assists (63). Pettersson also tied his career high in plus-minus at plus-16.

The Canucks next matchup is on Thursday, Oct. 19 at 7:00 pm, against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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