When I got a new toy or book when I was a kid, my parents always warned me to take good care of it. Most of the toys have disappeared over the years but I still have a huge book collection, much of which is in near-mint condition.
The Vancouver Canucks' new toy, of course, is fifth-overall draft pick Elias Pettersson—whose slight build earmarks him as a player who could be injury-prone, especially as he makes the transition to the smaller ice surface and harder-hitting North American hockey. Fans are very worried that he might get broken before he gets his chance to be the Canucks' next star centre, a few years down the road.
The alarm bells went off when Pettersson failed to finish his first game with Team Sweden at the World Junior Summer Showcase in Michigan last Saturday.
Pettersson had two shots on goal in the first period as a second-line left wing, but didn't play at all in the third period. It's believed that this is where he was hurt—just offscreen to the right, with a few seconds left on the clock in the second.
Pettersson sat out Sunday's game against USA White, but Adam Kimelman of NHL.com reports that he should be good to go for Sweden's next game, against the blended U.S. team at 1 p.m. PT on Wednesday. That game, and Canada's 10 a.m. matchup against Finland, will both be televised on TSN's main network.
"He's good," Sweden coach Tomas Monten told Kimelman on Monday. "He skated the full session. He was on the ice before as well. Everything looks good, so we're looking to play him next game."
Caution is the watchword at these summer tournaments—no team wants to see an important prospect suffer a serious injury.
Canucks fans might be having flashbacks to when former first-rounder Jared McCann was knocked out of the 2015 Summer Showcase in Calgary in the first period of his first game thanks to a big open-ice hit by Russian defenseman Nikita Zhuldikov.
Click here to revisit that story from Jared Clinton at The Hockey News and take a look at the video of the hit.
“We’re just holding him out for precautionary reasons,” Team Canada coach Dave Lowry told Ben Kuzma of The Province at the time. “You’re better to err on the side of caution. He’s not going to play again (this week) and at this stage, there’s no sense in rushing anybody back.
“He took a hard lick, but players have to have awareness on ice. He was straight line and looking back.”
McCann ended up flying from Calgary to Vancouver for further evaluation, but his development didn't suffer any significant setback. He played in September's Young Stars tournament, then surprised by sticking with the Canucks out of training camp and spending the entire 2015-16 season with the team before being traded last spring.
With Petterson's return for Sweden's last three games of the tournament, his prognosis is even better.
Those games will all be televised. If you'd like to take a closer look at his performance in his first game before he was hurt, check out this video, which captures every shift from Saturday's game:
After I got a taste of Pettersson's skillset at that Development Camp scrimmage last month, I'm very keen to see more of what he can do. He contributed just one assist in six games as Sweden lost to Russia in last year's World Junior tournament. I'd like to see him get a chance to be one of the go-to guys in his last World Juniors opportunity—with a November birthday, he'll be a couple of months too old to be eligible for the 2019 tournament here in Vancouver.
Canada plays its first games of the Summer Showcase today, in split squads. Canucks forward prospects Kole Lind and Jonah Gadjovich are both part of Canada Red, which will play USA White at 1 p.m. PT, and goaltender Michael DiPietro shares duties with 2017 World Junior goalie Carter Hart with Canada White against USA Blue at 4 p.m. PT. The squads will then combine to face Finland on Wednesday morning.
A couple of other notes before I sign off for today:
Anton Rodin tells me, "Knee is feeling great, I have been skating for about a month. Feels great." #Canucks