Trent Leith / September 10, 2021
We have spent all summer avoiding this subject in any major way at StadiumChinatown.ca, but the time has come, we can no longer hide. Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes are still not signed with just over two weeks remaining until the Canucks training camp starts. While this isn’t exactly uncommon to see star RFAs using their only real leverage to get everything they can out of their second contracts, it is still very nerve-racking for fans, and can even cause more “passionate“ fans to turn on the players. See Mitch Marner and William Nylander. In other cases, like Brock Boeser or Bo Horvat though, fans don’t seem to be upset for long if negotiations go into training camp.
It’s not ideal for either of these two young stars to miss any training camp time. Hughes could use the extra time to start building chemistry with his defence partner, likely Travis Hamonic. After a down year defensively, Hughes and the team would benefit greatly from utilizing every minute of ice time they can get before the season starts. Pettersson is coming back from missing a large portion of an already shortened season due to injury and could use the camp as a time to shake off any rust that may have accumulated in his extended break from game action.
But what is the temperature of the market? How is everyone feeling about the lack of deals? Let’s pull back the curtain and check in on the infamous Canucks Twitter.
The State of the Union
At this point of the off-season, it seems all but confirmed that Quinn Hughes is likely to sign a longer-term deal, likely six to eight years because of his ineligibility to sign an offer sheet and lack of leverage. Pettersson is more likely to sign a bridge deal and holds a little more leverage with the offersheet as an option, should he be tendered one. Offer sheets are often thought of as the boogieman that no one ever uses, but as we just saw with Montreal, once in a blue moon they work
With two other key RFAs unsigned in Brady Tkachuk and Kirill Kaprizov, it seems like Pettersson is holding out waiting for the first domino to fall in order to set the market.
The No Biggie Crowd
This is not the first, or last time that a key RFA will hold out for a better contract, as that’s usually all the leverage they hold. With this being a semi-regular occurrence many are shaking it off as nothing to worry about, and they will get signed, including Travis Green:
And even Travis Green…ish?
Hughes isn’t eligible for offer sheets, but if this sentiment is applied to Pettersson, it’s terrifying. I like the optimism, but it doesn’t take a lot to realize the Canucks could very easily lose Pettersson to an offer sheet.
The This is Getting Out of Hand Crowd
Look, we all know Jim Benning has his supporters and critics. The critics seem to be getting antsy with the lack of contracts or at the very least, negotiations.
With large sums of money already allocated to players that haven’t been received very well like Oliver Ekman-Larsson or Tucker Poolman, some fans are getting frustrated and losing confidence in management.
With talents like Hughes and Pettersson possess, it’s not a happy thought to think of the Canucks without them.
A Clear Divide in the Fans
Everyone has a take, everyone has an opinion and everyone is standing firm to those ideas. It’s a concept that we at StadiumChinatown.ca know all too well. From calling for Gaudette to get time over Virtanen’s spot to predicting that the Canucks to be an absolute lock for the playoffs this year, we know what it’s like to take a stance, plant yourself on the hill and not leave it. But it’s also just quite funny scrolling through Canucks Twitter and seeing people with wildly different takes, appear right beside each other on the timeline. This is how you know hockey season is back.
When Will It End?!
The anxiety is only going to get worse for Canucks fans, and since we have passed Labour Day, summer is unofficially over and we are now into pre-preseason hockey territory. Talk radio will have nothing to talk about but the lack of contracts, and what they could look like. What kind of offer sheet dangers does the team face if Hughes is signed and Petey hasn’t been? What happens if they hold out signing until into the season etc. The pain is only just starting fans, we are in for a bumpy ride until the news breaks.