Pettersson: Extension talks 'on hold' while focusing on upcoming season
Vancouver Canucks superstar Elias Pettersson paused talks of a potential contract extension as he gears up for the 2023-24 campaign.
"I've just put that on hold," Pettersson said, per NHL.com's Dan Rosen. "I still have one more year left. I've been wanting to focus on training this summer and the contract will sort itself out."
Pettersson became eligible to sign a new deal on July 1. He's scheduled to be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer if an agreement isn't struck before then.
The 24-year-old said he's unsure about the term he'd prefer on his next contract. Pettersson signed a three-year, $22.05-million bridge deal in 2021 after his entry-level contract expired.
"It's a big topic obviously, and I don't have the answer myself," he said. "I just want to focus on the season."
Pettersson's agent, J.P. Barry, said in June that he expected negotiations to begin this summer with both the Canucks and his client wanting to strike a long-term agreement.
The Canucks are currently projected to have over $32.4 million in cap space next season, according to CapFriendly, but only have 11 players signed beyond 2023-24. Pettersson is likely to become Vancouver's highest-paid player, a title currently held by J.T. Miller and his $8-million annual cap hit.
Pettersson set career highs in goals (39), assists (63), shots (257), and average ice time (20:33) last season, his fifth in the NHL since being drafted fifth overall by Vancouver in 2017.
The Swedish sniper has racked up 323 points in 325 NHL contests and won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 2019. Despite an impressive career so far, Pettersson wants to continue evolving every aspect of his repertoire.
"I think I really found my game, what I need to do to play my best," Pettersson said. "I want to be a two-way center. I want them to depend on me in the 'D' zone as much as the offensive zone."