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NHL Notebook: Canucks sign Elias Pettersson to massive eight-year contract extension and Capitals place Evgeny Kuznetsov on waivers

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Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Aleena Aksenchuk
1 month ago
The Vancouver Canucks have locked in star center Elias Pettersson and his future on the West Coast after signing the forward to the largest contract in franchise history. 
The 25-year-old inked an eight-year contract extension on Saturday worth $98.2 million and $11.6-million annually, making it the largest contract a player has agreed to since the organization joined the league in 1970.
According to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, the deal also puts Pettersson into elite status regarding financial terms in the league. He now sits as the fourth most-paid player in the NHL. Above him is Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby ($104.4 million), Colorado Avalanche’s Nathan McKinnon ($100.8 million), and Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid ($100 million).
Before Pettersson’s incredible deal, former Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo held the unofficial title of the largest contract in Canucks history after signing a 12-year, $64-million deal back in 2009. 
By the time Petersson’s new contract expires, he will only be 33 years old. 
The deal, which first came into discussions last summer, gives both Pettersson and the Canucks a massive sigh of relief as they can now begin moving forward with the vision that Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin has in mind for the organization. 
“I think it was more about the trust and the vision that he wanted to see clear here,” Allvin said during a press conference on Saturday. “We respect that fully.”
Pettersson and the Canucks have been a big surprise this season as they’ve held the No. 1 spot in the league at various points throughout the season. Heading into Saturday’s games, they sit third amongst the entire league with 83 points behind the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers, both with 84.
Pettersson himself has recorded 29 goals and 75 points throughout 62 games and is projected to amass an additional nine goals and 24 points by the completion of the entire 82-game campaign. With over 387 career games, the forward has become a proven point-per-game player, collecting 398 points in six years. 
On Sunday, the club will begin a three-game road trip in California, starting with the Anaheim Ducks. 

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Washington Capitals place Evgeny Kuznetsov on waivers

Hours after the NHL announced that Evgeny Kuznetsov was cleared to resume practicing with the Washington Capitals, the organization announced they had placed the forward on waivers.
The NHL and NHLPA announced that Kuznetsov had entered the player’s assistance program on February 5th, making him indefinitely unavailable to the club.
After Kuznetsov missed the first practice following the All-Star Break, the organization revealed that he was not participating due to personal reasons. However, the reasoning for the forward entering into the program in the first place was never disclosed, and not often is.
This season, Kuznetsov scored six goals and 17 points across 47 games, far less than his production in the past two seasons, which saw him register over 5o points consecutively.
Longtime Capitals reporter Tarik El-Bashir said if Kuznetsov clears waivers, Washington general manager Brian MacLellan plans to send him to the American Hockey League’s Hersey Bears with the hopes to “set the wheels in motion” for a change of scenery and a fresh start for the forward.
However, with his cap hit of $7.8 million through next season, a modified 10-team no-trade clause, and limited production, it is improbable a team will pick him up on waivers. If he is not claimed, Kuznetsov will play in the AHL for the first time in his career.
The 31-year-old has spent his entire career with the Capitals organization, totalling 171 goals and 568 points across 723 games. In 2018, he contributed 12 goals and 32 points to help the Capitals capture a Stanley Cup Championship.
The Capitals hold a record of 28-22-9 as of March 2nd and sit fourth in the Metropolitan Division, four points behind the Philadelphia Flyers.
Washington will host the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday afternoon, hoping to add another win to their record.

Aleena Aksenchuk is contributor with Oilersnation and the Nation Network. She can be found on Twitter at @A_Aksenchuk8.

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