Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson signed new deals
By Brandon Yip, Senior Columnist
“This is probably the best roster we’ve had in my three years here, so that was another thing—I definitely didn’t want to be at home too long because I think that we have a really good team here and I wanted to be here.”-Quinn Hughes
The Vancouver Canucks have trimmed their roster in preparation for their season opener on October 13 against the Edmonton Oilers on the road.
The Canucks resigned Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson. Sportnet’s Emily Sadler reported on October 4 that Hughes received a six-year extension worth $7.85 million (totalling $47.1 million). While Pettersson signed a three-year deal worth $7.35 million a season (totalling $22.05 million).
The contract stalemate for both players took a very long time to resolve, worrying many Canucks fans. Pettersson was relieved to have signed a new deal, meaning he can now focus on the upcoming season. “I just wanted to get back to the team,” Pettersson said during his October 3 press conference alongside Quinn Hughes as reported by Sportsnet. “I mean, both me and Quinn felt like it was wrong to be [in] Michigan when the team were having a training camp and in pre-season. We just wanted to get the deal sorted as fast as possible. Maybe it took longer than expected, but both of us are really happy with our deals and [can’t] wait to get started.”
Quinn Hughes shares Pettersson’s sentiments. “[It was] stressful because, you know, you’re seeing stuff online and you want to be there,” he said. “But it was what it was and we’re here now. This is probably the best roster we’ve had in my three years here, so that was another thing—I definitely didn’t want to be at home too long because I think that we have a really good team here and I wanted to be here.”
Sportsnet writer, Iain MacIntyre, assessed the Hughes and Pettersson contracts in his October 3 column for Sportsnet. He believes it is a good deal for both players and management: “The Canucks did not have the salary-cap space to re-sign both young stars to long-term contracts so Pettersson, who would be the more expensive of the two, accepted a three-year bridge deal that will give him some career choices when he is 25. He will be in a position to accept a hefty qualifying offer from Vancouver of $8.82 million and be eligible for unrestricted free agency a year later, or simply negotiate a six- or eight-year contract in 2024 that would set him towards being a career Canuck.”
Daniel Wagner from Vancouver Is Awesome reported on October 4 the Canucks began with 54 players when training camp started (September 23 to 25). The roster has since been reduced to 38 players, which includes injured players Tyler Motte and Brandon Sutter—who are both not expected to be in the lineup when the season starts. Also, Travis Hamonic is still absent from the team with no update regarding his status.
On October 6, Wagner reported the Canucks cut two more players: Jonah Gadjovich and Danila Klimovich. Sportsnet reported on October 7 that Gadjovich was claimed off waivers by the San Jose Sharks. He was Vancouver’s second-round pick (55th overall) in the 2017 draft. Klimovich was assigned to the Abbotsford Canucks. He was the Canucks’ top pick in the 2021 draft (41st overall). Vancouver will continue cutting players until they are at the standard 23-player roster before opening night.
In other player moves, the Canucks assigned Viktor Persson and Connor Lockhart to their respective junior teams (Persson with Kamloops Blazers of the WHL and Lockhart with Erie Otters of the OHL). Whereas, Arturs Silovs, Karel Plasek and Jett Woo were assigned to Abbotsford—without having to clear waivers. Other players were assigned to Abbotsford but needed to clear waivers including Spencer Martin, Sheldon Rempal, Devante Stephens and John Stevens.
In other NHL news, Sportsnet reported on October 4 that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman addressed Twitter posts made by Las Vegas Golden Knights goalie, Robin Lehner. The outspoken goalie posted a series of tweets on October 2 accusing “many teams” in the NHL of administering Benzodiazepines and Ambien to “employees when they travel.”
Lehner tagged the NHLPA and NHL in these allegations of medical malpractice. The NHL later reached out to Lehner to arrange a meeting to address these issues. “We take his comments seriously and we’d like in short order to be in a conversation with him so we can hear his concerns directly and we’re going to follow up to see what merit there may be to his concerns,” Bettman said during an appearance on The Jeff Marek Show on October 4. “You don’t have to tweet to get our attention. We have an 800 number people can call. You can call us directly, we’re an open book. But if he has concerns we want to hear them and see how they need to be addressed.”
Lastly, Montreal Canadiens star goalie, Carey Price, has entered the NHL and NHLPA’s player assistance program. The Canadiens made the announcement via press release as reported by CBC Sports on October 7. Price has been recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Marc Bergevin, the Habs’ GM, said Price would be absent from the team for a minimum of 30 days. Price’s wife, Angela, posted a message on Instagram supporting her husband: “No matter what is on the line, we hope we can communicate the importance of putting your mental health first, not just by saying it, but by showing up and doing the work to get better.”