An energetic forward with highly creative hands, good work ethic and offensive skills…smart and aware on the ice…dangerous one-on-one player…combination of speed and the ability to make quick turns in different directions with the puck make him hard to pin down…can pull off multiple quick dekes in unison with quick changes of direction to break ankles of defenders…keeps his feet moving and brings quick pressure on his opponent offensively…finds open ice and creates space for himself to get off his strong wrist shot…goes to the high-traffic areas and will take the puck to the net…defensively, he knows where to position himself…tries to get himself into shooting or passing lanes…not physical, but will engage on the backcheck…needs some added muscle, but is a solid top-six projection for the NHL.
From the Hockey Prospect Black Book (Excerpt from publication):
He is able to wow you with his ability to score high-lite reel goals and his skating is excellent. His puck skills are fantastic and he has a high hockey IQ. He makes use of his great hockey sense in many facets of the game and it shows up with his creativity and the way he makes great passes out of nowhere. We love that he can both score and pass the puck to help create plays. He’s one of the best thinkers in the draft class and when you combine that with his skill it creates a very desirable package.
From Corey Pronman of ESPN (Excerpt only – full article behind pay wall):
Pettersson was a significant riser this season, after producing at a point-per-game pace versus men in Sweden and often appearing on highlight reels for positive reasons. Pettersson has very quick hands and a ton of creativity in his game, and even when he’s being tightly checked, he’s able to generate space for himself. He sees the ice very well and can make difficult feeds. “He has the talent to be a star,” one scout said. That doesn’t mean Pettersson’s game is perfect. He has heavy feet and struggles to win battles as he has a wiry frame and isn’t a very intense battler. On the other hand, it’s hard to ignore his significant point-producing potential as a pro and his ability to be a game-breaker on the ice. In my viewings, I didn’t see him ever have a great game. However, every Swedish scout I’ve talked to was willing to go to bat for him as a top-end prospect.
From Jimmy Hamrin of McKeen’s Hockey (Excerpt only – full article behind pay wall):
Pettersson is a mesmerizing player with a great skill set and an even greater hockey IQ. He is a playmaker that can score and he can play both center and winger, although I like him more as a center. His WJC showed that he has yet to figure out the physically tighter and faster North American game. His playing at that tournament was better than his stats though as he was a bit snakebitten. He has the potential to become a first line player in the NHL but he will need a couple of years to grow into his body and get stronger and more consistent. This season in Allsvenskan he has been really consistent in his production. He has been a big riser on many rankings. I can see him becoming one of the best players in the draft if he reaches his full potential but the question might be if he is too far from being NHL ready for top picking GMs to take a chance on him as high as top 5-10.
From The Draft Analyst:
Sublime two-way talent with jaw-dropping moves and a proclivity for making defenders look silly. Sure, he’s beyond wiry and could stand to spend more time with a fork in his hands, but every other block is checked. He can play either center or wing, and owning a ridiculously soft set of hands makes him a perfect fit for any power play. Saying Pettersson is your typical Swedish two-way pivot is too easy a way out. There’s a uniqueness about him, and his puck handling abilities are buttery smooth. As lanky as he looks, Pettersson is a bonafide assassin who absorbs hits while controlling the puck with his head up. He can handle a tough pass better than practically any of his draft peers. Pettersson isn’t an explosive skater with first-step quickness but can gain separation after a few strides. Plus, he’s a dangler with an acute hold on how plays develop.
Elias Pettersson is an extraordinarily skillful player who had an incredible season in the Allsvenskan, the second highest professional league in Sweden. By the way Pettersson and 19-year old teammate (and Canucks prospect) Jonathan Dahlen were putting up points, you’d think it was standard for teenagers to produce heavily in that league. In reality, it’s far from normal, and in fact both Pettersson and Dahlen’s seasons were among the top ten performances all-time by an under-20 player in that league.