Dreger: Canucks see Pettersson’s defensive strengths too

The offensive wizardry of Elias Pettersson has been on display early, but that prowess may overshadow the subtleties of his defensive instincts.

Darren Dreger had a Monday afternoon radio hit on Edmonton’s TSN 1260, and passed along an observation from someone within the Vancouver Canucks organization on their budding star.

The entry point to the discussion involved a mention of the comparison to Pavel Bure that some onlookers are drawing with Pettersson.

“Yeah, and I’m buying it to be fair,” agreed Dreger. “There’s something about this young man that just has you on the edge of your seat whenever he steps out onto the ice. It’s the goals, it’s the vision - but there’s more to it than that.

“I did a game on the weekend - in fact, it wasn’t really the game, it was the Ottawa debacle where they got it handed to them by the Buffalo Sabres. But in our intermission we talked about Elias Pettersson. The feedback from around the Canucks organization… we can see how good of an offensive player that he is in his rookie year, and you can only imagine how much better he’s going to get over time. What we don’t see are the things that Travis Green and the coaching staff of the Vancouver Canucks see, and that’s how sound he is defensively.

“In fact, and I can’t say who told me this, but somebody made the comparison to Patrice Bergeron in saying that, ‘You know what? Pettersson at this stage of his very, very, very young NHL career might even have better defensive instincts than Bergeron has.’

“So if that’s even remotely true, then this kid is going to be a superstar in pretty quick fashion.”

Bergeron has four Selke Trophies to his name, while Pettersson will be suiting up for his 10th NHL start Tuesday when the Canucks take on the Detroit Red Wings.

Pettersson is coming off a thrilling five-point performance Friday night, and has nine goals and 15 points in his nine outings.