Canucks: Of course Elias Pettersson interests the Carolina Hurricanes

Three things about Pettersson in this moment: the trade talk, the noise and his confidence, plus getting 10 years of contract.

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Elias Pettersson began his post-game availability Thursday with a simple message: he would only answer questions about the game.

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Asking about noise around his contract negotiations as well as the negotiations themselves, which apparently restarted this week, was off the table.

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The big question, of course, would have been about his apparent shift in tack: after saying before the season, and several times in season, that he didn’t want to talk contract until the end of the year, why had he apparently changed course this week.

And so we are left to thread some bits of information together.

Let us not speculate, let us dig into what can be revealed.

The trade thing

The Carolina Hurricanes took an interest in an Elias Pettersson trade, you say?

That’s not a big surprise: the analytically-oriented team would love a player like Pettersson, of course.

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Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Thursday that the Hurricanes expressed serious interest in trading for the Vancouver Canucks centre and trade talks progressed far enough that Canucks management approached.

Who called who first? That’s a question to be answered.

Pettersson’s a strong two-way player, who would fit well into their puck-possession obsessed system.

Carolina has kicked tires on Canucks players before: they did call about J.T. Miller last year, with Jesperi Kotkaniemi in the mix coming the other way. But obviously that didn’t happen.

Carolina had missed out on a Timo Meier trade at the time. Miller superficially is a similar player: big and strong, an offensive force. Pettersson isn’t the bruising forward that Miller is, but he’s strong and plays strong — and he’s a more effective two-way player than Miller.

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Would the Canucks really have made a deal to trade Pettersson? That’s probably an unanswerable question. Did Pettersson actually believe they would? Another one that may never get an answer.

Did the idea, though, spark Pettersson’s interest in opening contract talks? That’s going to be a question that gets asked.

The confidence thing

Pettersson admitted this week that he’s heard the noise and he’s been doing his best to shut it out.

Has it distracted him? Has it dragged down his confidence? We don’t know.

Does he look as confident a player as he’s been? He’s certainly in a dry performance stretch, struggling to find open lanes to shoot from, let alone managing to put the puck in the net.

How is he managing his way through this? Head coach Rick Tocchet did mention the team’s mental performance coach Alex Hodgins in general terms on Wednesday when asked about ways to deal with the pressure one might be under.

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Pettersson is known to be a quiet personality, one who does his leading by example. He’s very loyal to those he lets into his orbit.

He’s immensely talented, who has worked hard on his talents to get him this far. Success isn’t easy — but this is the hardest stretch of his career. The dilemma in front of him is as tough a situation as he’ll face in his life.

It’s a lot to handle.

The term thing

How do you maximize your earnings over the rest of your career?

Pettersson is 25. The longest contract he can sign is for eight years, which would carry him until he’s 33.

But if you can get a shorter term deal, say for five years, that means you’re looking for a new deal when you’re 30.

And at age 30, he’ll certainly be in a stronger negotiating position that he would be at 33.

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Could he sign an eight year deal at age 30? Maybe. Surely he’d be able to land another five year deal.

So, hypothetically, if he’s able to land back to back five-year contracts, does that mean he’d end up earning more over the 10 total years that way than if he signed an eight-year deal now and then a two or three year deal when he’s 33?

It’s a lot to contemplate.

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