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Canucks rookie phenom Elias Pettersson turning heads with incredible debut season

It hasn't been a great season for the Canucks so far this year — but it has been an incredible first season for rookie sensation Elias Pettersson. He's giving fans new hope that the team could be ready to turn the page after a stretch of mediocre campaigns.

One fan and blogger says rookie forward reminds him of a young Pavel Bure

Elias Pettersson has thrived in his rookie season with the Canucks, and fans are heartened by the Swede's early success. (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

It hasn't been a great season for the Canucks so far this year — but it has been an incredible debut for rookie sensation Elias Pettersson.

The Swedish forward is having what could be described as a monumental season, leading all rookies in scoring with 30 points going into Tuesday night. For context, Ottawa's Colin White, the current runner up, has 19.

While the Canucks may still be struggling as a whole and face a tough task in making the playoffs, longtime fan and Rogers Arena bartender Phil Figueiredo says excitement over Petterson has been unprecedented.

"I remember even in the first preseason game seeing five or six Pettersson jerseys," Figueiredo said. "He hadn't even played a game yet and already people are wearing his jersey.

"Nowadays, all you see is a plethora of Pettersson jerseys."

Best Canuck ever?

J.J. Guererro, founder of The Canucks Hockey Blog, has been watching the team for years — including recently when Vancouver has missed the playoffs four out of the last five years.

Even he admits this year feels different, and it's all because of number 40.

"He's already being touted as perhaps the best Canuck of all time," Guererro said.

Pettersson is drawing comparisons to Canucks legend Pavel Bure.

He says Pettersson already reminds him of another Canuck legend: Pavel Bure.

"Every time Pavel touched the puck the entire arena would stand up and just anticipate something great was going to happen," he said. "That's what Pettersson is doing right now … we just haven't seen that in a long time."

Unexpected

One of the most remarkable aspects of Pettersons early-season success might be how unexpected it has been.

Unlike Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid, there wasn't a huge level of expectation or excitement around him at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

Expectations need to be kept in check as they usually are in professional sports. The season is only one-third complete, and it's consistency over years that creates greatness.

But if Petterson continues to surprise, it's going to be a fun time to be a fan of the Vancouver Canucks.

Listen to the full story:

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast

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