While the Vancouver Canucks struggled through another long season and fell well short of the Stanley Cup playoffs, there were at least some positive takeaways from 2017-18.
Brock Boeser was a Calder Trophy finalist who would have eclipsed 30 goals had he stayed healthy. Goalie Thatcher Demko appears a year ahead of schedule and could push for a full-time role at training camp in the fall. Adam Gaudette was the leading NCAA scorer and Hobey Baker winner. Kole Lind led his WHL team in scoring and was sixth in points per game average league-wide.
But the best Canucks story may have been written overseas this winter.
We’ve documented the incredible season put together by Elias Pettersson in the SHL, Sweden’s top professional league. The 19-year-old and fifth overall NHL draft pick set a new scoring record for a junior-aged player in the league, and won the regular season scoring title outright. Playoff hockey didn’t slow Pettersson either — his Vaxko Lakers won the SHL championship over the weekend and he was a force throughout, winning the playoff scoring title as well.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) April 22, 2018
Also, his total of 19 points in 13 payoff games also was a record for a junior-aged SHL players, passing Alex Holmstrom and finshing with better totals than both Sedin twins and Anze Kopitar.
All told, Pettersson’s season stacks up as the best junior season in the history of the SHL.
There is still no indication whether or not Pettersson will cross to North American next season, and the next stop for him could be the World Championship next month.
“We’re going to have to sit down and see where he’s at but what he’s done in the Swedish Elite League is pretty impressive,” Canucks president Trevor Linden said earlier this season.