Vancouver canucks 3 things to be excited for next season part 2

There are a group of prospects in different parts of their hockey careers that all will get a chance as young players to be the next step in this Canucks rebuild. It starts with Elias Pettersson, who shocked Canucks fans when Jim Benning selected him fifth overall in last years draft. The amazing thing is that he continued to shock Canucks fans with all that he accomplished in the Swedish Hockey League(SHL) last year.

We of course will have the youngster Brock Boeser who we should try to remember is only 21 years old and will still be 21 when the season begins. He is young and he is already partially proven what he can do at the highest level of hockey and fans are craving more, Boeser has all the talent in the world as a goal scorer.

His addition to the powerplay was everything that Jim Benning probably envisioned when he drafted him late in the first round of the 2015 entry draft.

I might be his biggest supporter but I truly believe that Jake Virtanen will also take a big step this year and he’s only going to be 22 years old when the season starts! Let’s not all dump on him he is still so young. He has shown some amazing flashes of greatness and if he can dial it all up and click for a year in a good situation I truly believe “Big Tuna” can be a top six forward for this team moving forward. I’ve even wrote in the past about the possibility of a Nikolay Goldobin, Elias Pettersson and Jake Virtanen line. Maybe I’m going crazy, that article is here if you’d like check it out.

To me Hughes is the second best left shot defenceman in the organization right now, he is also the best option for a powerplay defenceman who can walk the line, create passing lanes and also gain entry during a powerplay. It gets me so excited thinking about the three guys on the powerplay with Boeser in his zone, Hughes on the top of the umbrella and Pettersson doing his thing on the oppo-Boeser zone.

I know this is a three part series about the things that Canucks fans should be excited for, but by a mile for me Elias Pettersson is the most exciting thing to watch for next season. The pressure it going to be there. I’ve been quoted saying he’s a contender for the Calder trophy and I will stand by that. I know it’s not good to put too much pressure on the kid but if you ask me I think he dealt with it pretty good over in Sweden.

He wasn’t just a 19 year old who was playing in the SHL, he was a 19 year old Swede who was leading the league in scoring and dominating his home country’s league. He had pressure on him, he was counted upon to make things happen for his team, similar to Evgeny Kuznetsov. In the playoffs, he lead his team in points en route to the championship. Pettersson had 10 goals in 13 playoff games for Växjö, he was clearly the best player in that league from opening night up to the day he was painted gold.

It’s not insane to predict that Pettersson can put up 60 points in his opening season. If the powerplay unit includes Pettersson, Horvat, Boeser and Hughes there is no limit for how much these young guns can fire past opposing goaltenders. Clayton Keller had 65 points last season in his rookie year for the Coyotes, 20 of those points came on the powerplay. I can see Pettersson being more around 30 powerplay points if he plays most of the season.

Is a Calder trophy in Pettersson’s future? Maybe, but it’s not time to count it out. Pettersson has dominated wherever he has gone and his talents translate to the fast moving NHL game, if his frame can hold up and he can thrive at centre, I see him having a great spot as the second line centre for this year. Pair him up with some offensively gifted players and the sky is the limit.

This one will be a bit shorter, we have seen Boeser for 70 plus games already. We know his strength, his shot is amazing and the release is unmatched in this organization since Markus Naslund. Boeser will need to stay healthy next year and with the addition of more depth players who will eat up even more defensive zone time it will make Boeser to be the team leader in offence.

We know what he is to this team now, last season he wasn’t a lock to be on this roster and we saw that with him being a healthy scratch in the first two games. Now he is an All-Star, he will be keyed upon more from opposing teams on the powerplay but with the addition of Hughes and Pettersson that could benefit everyone if teams decide to cheat to Boeser’s side.