2021-22 Team: Örebro HK J20 (J20 Nationell)
Date of Birth: Feb. 16, 2004
Place of Birth: Västeräs, Sweden
Height: 6-foot-2, Weight: 185 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
Elias Pettersson is a Swedish defenceman who plays a well-rounded two-way game. Not to be confused with his fellow Swede who has the exact same name (center for the Vancouver Canucks), this Elias Pettersson plays defence and is much bigger than his namesake.
Pettersson played most of this season with the U20 team for Örebro where he was excellent, scoring 10 goals and earning 18 points over 37 games. He managed to play in 17 Swedish Hockey League (SHL) games later in the season but was rarely given consistent ice time. He earned one assist in those games but did flash a bit of his offensive potential despite being such a young player in one of the world’s best professional hockey leagues.
Pettersson has surprisingly good speed and skating for a player of his size which he mainly uses to his advantage on the many zone exits and entries that he made for his U20 team. He is good at using his large frame to make it tough for his opponents to take the puck away from him, though he isn’t quite as proficient at using it to knock opposing players off the puck in battles along the boards. He will need to learn how to better use his size if he wants to become an impact player in the NHL.
He earned the chance he got in the SHL this year and I would expect to see him beginning to expand that role as soon as next season. Another year to grow and mature will surely give him a shot at being an SHL regular for the 2022-23 campaign.
Related: 2022 NHL Draft Guide
Pettersson’s best offensive tool is his wrist shot which he is excellent at getting off while in motion, either while cutting toward the middle of the ice from the point or while skating along the blueline. He got the chance to play for Team Sweden at the U20 World Junior Championship tournament this May but was mostly underwhelming, scoring zero points in six games. He was certainly reliable, considering he was one of the team’s defenders with the most professional experience, though he didn’t do much for his draft stock at the tournament.
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Elias Pettersson – NHL Draft Projection
The rankings for Pettersson are a bit all over the place at the moment, though they will likely stabilize a bit once more rankings reach into the third and fourth rounds of the upcoming draft. I expect to see him drafted at roughly the 90th overall range, which would be late in the third round. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go a bit sooner as I know every NHL team wants a big defenceman with raw offensive potential, though I would be equally unsurprised if he dropped into the fourth round.
“Pettersson shows offensive potential with his ability to beat goaltenders from distance and moves pretty well for a bigger defenceman.” – Chris Faber, Canucks Army
“Pettersson is an all-round blueliner with well-developed skating abilities that is useful in all kind of situations in a game.” – Fredrik Haak, FC Hockey
- Wrist shot
- Defensive Awareness
- Zone exits/entries
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Puck skills
- Playmaking is a bit lacklustre
Pettersson’s combination of size, speed and shot make him a respectable candidate for a second powerplay unit in the NHL if all goes right. He would need to improve his playmaking game to really be trusted in that role, though, I could see it working out. I would expect him to become a fifth-to-seventh defender on a good team who can pitch in with 15-plus points in a good season, especially if he earns consistent ice time on the powerplay.
Risk – 3/5, Reward 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 6.5/10, Defense – 6 /10
- U18 WJC Gold Medal – 2021-22
- J20 SM Bronze Medal – 2021-22
Elias Pettersson Statistics
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Logan is the director of prospect coverage (including the World Junior Championship and NHL Draft) for The Hockey Writers, and he’s also a part of the Detroit Red Wings writing team. He loves reading about statistics and advanced analytics, and discovering how they can enrich his hockey analysis and writing.