December 11, 2018

Elias Pettersson: The Greatest Canuck?

The kid is good. But, just 26 games into his career, is he really that good?

The highly respected Vancouver journalist Iain MacIntyre raised eyebrows this week when he penned a column suggesting Elias Pettersson might just be the greatest Vancouver Canucks player in history.

Now that claim might just say as much about the lack of great players Vancouver has had over the years, but I for one am glad he said it.

Of course Pettersson is not the greatest. Longevity and team success must be large parts of such a claim and only time will tell that story. And he has a long ways to go to match the legacies of Trevor Linden or the Sedin twins in that regard. But based on his hockey ability and excitement level, is there anyone who does not foresee a day in the not so distant future where we declare Pettersson to be the better player than Linden or the Sedins, at least on an individual basis?

Linden was heart and soul, while the Sedins were just so unique as hockey's most dynamic duo though they were always better together than alone. Then there was Pavel Bure, unquestionably Vancouver's most electrifying player in history. Will Pettersson be that good?

I think a lot of Vancouver fans believe so, and it is more than just the out of control hype machine creating this stir. And I'm one of them. So much so that I've been thinking exactly what MacIntyre has said since about the 10 game mark of the season.

I even made the comment to a long time fan a month or so ago, and instantly regretted it. He looked at me like I was out of my mind. The kid is good, but he's only a few games into his career! But I really believe we may be seeing the rise of the greatest Canucks player ever.

Why do I believe that? I don't really know. Part of it is because of the way he has taken the league by storm like so few players - on any team - have done before him. Part of it is his clicking with triggerman Brock Boeser as the team's new dynamic duo. Part of it is knowing that the Canucks have a number of top prospects - Quinn Hughes most notably - set to join him in the next season or two.

There is hope and optimism in Vancouver again, and that's what sports is all about. Sure, there's lots of work ahead, namely finding a goalie and improving the defense. But maybe, just maybe, the already anointed greatest Canuck will be leading the greatest Canucks team.

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