Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson each signed a contract with the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.
Each was a restricted free agent, and neither the defenseman nor center was at Canucks training camp, which began Sept. 23.
Hughes, a 21-year-old defenseman, received a six-year, $47.1 million contract (average annual value $7.85 million).
Pettersson, a 22-year-old center, received a three-year, $22 million contract (average annual value $7.35 million).
“We’re extremely pleased to have agreed to terms with both Quinn and Elias,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning said. “Quinn has emerged as one of the premier young defencemen in the League, and we’re happy that we were able to make a deal that keeps him in Vancouver long term.
“Elias is an exceptional offensive player whose speed and skill are complimented by a strong work ethic and desire to win. Both players will continue to be important parts of this team moving forward.”
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The Canucks open the regular season at the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 13.
“It affects the team and affects the players individually,” Vancouver coach Travis Green said at camp. “I’m disappointed they’re not here, obviously, as a coach. We’ve got a lot of new bodies on our team. I think being two big pieces to our team, it’s important they’re here, and obviously being two younger players, training camp is a big part of working on certain parts of your game, and these are two young players that are vital to our team.”
Pettersson was eligible to receive an offer sheet from another NHL team; Hughes was not.
Hughes scored 41 points (three goals, 38 assists) in 56 games last season. He led NHL rookies in scoring in 2019-20 with 53 points (eight goals, 45 assists) and 25 power-play points in 68 games and was runner-up for the Calder Trophy to Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar in voting for NHL rookie of the year.
Selected by Vancouver with the No. 7 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, Hughes has scored 97 points (11 goals, 86 assists) in 129 regular-season games.
Pettersson scored 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) in 26 games last season; he did not play after March 2 because of a wrist injury. He scored 66 points in each of his first two NHL seasons, including 28 goals and 38 assists in 71 games in 2018-19 when he won the Calder Trophy.
Selected by Vancouver in the first round (No. 5) of the 2017 NHL Draft, Pettersson has scored 153 points (65 goals, 88 assists) in 165 regular-season games.
“We’re getting closer and closer (to the season) and I’m sure that the anticipation and pressure for them is … through the roof,” Vancouver forward J.T. Miller told Sportsnet. “I’m staying out of it; they don’t need my help. I think they all know that we want them here and need them. But this is a big part of their future, a big part of their lives, and big decisions are being made.”