Canucks star Pettersson unfazed by contract uncertainty as training camp opens

VICTORIA — Vancouver Canucks star forward Elias Pettersson says starting the National Hockey League season without a signed contract extension will not be a "distraction" to him.

Pettersson, 24, made the comments about his contract situation today as the Canucks hit the ice for their first training camp workout in Victoria.

The Swedish sniper, who notched 39 goals and 102 points last season, is in the final year of his three-year, $22-million contract and will become a restricted free agent next year if he doesn't sign an extension with the Canucks.

Pettersson says he's happy to be in Vancouver now and will focus on the coming season, adding it could be the media that turns his contract situation into a distraction.

Pettersson skated on a line with wingers Andrei Kuzmenko and Nils Hoglander at the first training camp session.

The Canucks missed the playoffs last season, finishing in sixth place in the Pacific Division with 83 points.

"It's not a distraction. You guys make it a distraction," Pettersson told reporters after the first camp workout. "I'm happy now, but I just want to focus on the season."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2023.

The Canadian Press