The Canucks might have struggled recently, winning just two of their last eight games, but their superstar rookie hasn’t slowed down. It’s been three months since the last time Elias Pettersson was held without a point in two straight games and he has 12 points in his last 11 games.
Pettersson leads the Canucks in a host of categories this season — goals, assists, and points, for starters — making it easy to forget that he just turned twenty back in November and is still a rookie. With his mature dedication to his defensive game, Pettersson sometimes seems like an experienced veteran, but it’s nice to remember from time to time that Pettersson hasn’t even reached the prime of his career yet.
Pettersson’s phenomenal rookie season has put several franchise rookie records within his reach. We looked at his record-setting pace back in December, when Pettersson was set to not just break, but shatter several of those records.
Since then, Pettersson has already broken one of those records, but has also missed games due to injury, putting some of the other records in doubt. But with 22 games remaining in the season, Pettersson still has the chance to break a couple of the biggest records.
Let’s take a look and see how close Pettersson is to cracking a few Canucks' rookie records.
Pettersson has already surpassed Pavel Bure’s record of six game-winning goals, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Even in Sweden, Pettersson had a flair for big goals, with six of his 24 goals in 44 regular season games counting as game winners. He came through in the playoffs too, with 4 game-winning goals among the 10 he scored in 13 games.
The next two records to fall will likely be the rookie record of 60 points held by Bure and Hlinka and the 10 power play goals record, held by four players, including Brock Boeser. Pettersson should easily score more than six points in the remaining 22 games. Heck, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him break that record by the end of February. Along the way, he’ll likely tally two or more power play goals.
It’s not a sure thing that Pettersson will reach any of the other records. The next closest is Bure’s rookie goals record of 34. Pettersson needs eight more goals in his final 22 games to tie Bure, which seems possible. Right now, Pettersson’s on-pace for 37.7 goals, but his pace has slowed of late, as he’s started tallying more assists than goals.
I’m leaning towards Pettersson catching Bure in goals, but it might be close.
Tallon’s rooke record of 42 assists has stood since the Canucks’ first season and it could still last to the Canucks’ 50th season. Pettersson was previously on-pace to squeeze by Tallon, but he’s currently set to come just short, on-pace for 40.6 assists.
Pettersson needs 14 assists in 22 games to match Tallon, which is certainly possible, but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t quite reach that mark.
The same is true of Boeser’s power play points record of 23. Pettersson is on-pace for 21.7 power play points and will need another 8 power play points to match Boeser. It’s within reach, but it will be close.
The one record that definitely seems out of reach is Dixon Ward’s rookie plus/minus record of +34. Barring some even-strength dominance down the stretch, Pettersson’s unlikely to catch up, with his current plus/minus at +15. Fortunately, plus/minus is a fairly overrated stat, so we won’t hold it against Pettersson.
Pettersson should also set a new rookie record for the Canucks in points-per-game, besting Bure’s 0.92. Pettersson is currently at 1.10.
At one point, it seemed like Pettersson’s quest for the Calder Trophy and these rookie records would be the biggest reason for Canucks fans to stay invested in this season. Now, thanks to him and a resurgent Jacob Markstrom (and the omnishambles that is the Western Conference), the Canucks are in a playoff race.
Still, it’s good to know that even if the bottom falls out of the Canucks’ push for the playoffs, this season can still go down in the Canucks’ record books.