Pettersson, Hughes to talk contract with Canucks

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VANCOUVER — Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes have begun contract talks with the Vancouver Canucks, general manager Jim Benning said Friday.

Pettersson, a forward, and Hughes, a defenseman, each is in the final year of a three-year, entry-level contract and can become a restricted free agent after the season. They have the same agent.

“We’ve started preliminary talks with their agent,” Benning said. “We haven’t started talking numbers yet, but we’ve talked about from their side what they’re looking at, from our side as far as term is concerned. We’ll get to that more now here in this next couple of weeks.”

Pettersson has scored 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) in 26 games this season and has scored 153 points (65 goals, 88 assists) in 165 regular-season games. The 22-year-old hasn’t played since March 2 because of an undisclosed injury, missing 11 games.

“The injury is getting better and we’ll see where he’s at after he sees the specialist and then they’ll make the determination when it’s safe for him to get back on the ice,” Benning said. “From there, he’ll have to have a couple of practices and get up and going. He’s been staying in good shape. I don’t think he’s that far away from playing, but it’s getting the okay that his injury healed and he’s 100 percent.”

Pettersson, who was the No. 5 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, tied J.T. Miller for the team lead with 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games last season. He won the Calder Trophy as the top rookie in the NHL in 2018-19.

Hughes leads Canucks defensemen and is third on the team in scoring with 28 points (two goals, 26 assists) in 37 games. The 21-year-old, who was the No. 7 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, has scored 84 points (10 goals, 74 assists) in 110 regular-season games and 16 points (two goals, 14 assists) in 17 playoff games. He was runner up to Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar for the Calder Trophy last season.

The Canucks have not played since March 24, a 5-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets, because of NHL COVID-19 protocols. Hughes was one of 21 Canucks players who have tested positive.

The NHL has postponed six Vancouver games, through April 10: at home against the Calgary Flames on March 31, at the Edmonton Oilers on April 3, at Winnipeg on Sunday and Tuesday, and at Calgary on Thursday and Saturday.

Vancouver is scheduled to play Monday and Wednesday at Edmonton.

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