Pettersson could be out for season for Canucks with upper-body injury

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VANCOUVER Elias Pettersson isn’t ready to return from an upper-body injury when the Vancouver Canucks resume play Sunday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the center may not be back this season.

Pettersson hasn’t played since March 2. Vancouver general manager Jim Benning said Monday he was hopeful the 22-year-old could return this weekend, when the Canucks play their first game since March 24 following a COVID-19 outbreak within the team that had 22 players test positive for the coronavirus.

“He’s on the ice skating now, he’s going to continue to rehab, but we don’t have a timeline yet as to when he’s going to be back, if he’s going to be back at all,” Benning said. “I was hopeful that maybe he could come back, but after the visit (to a specialist) on Wednesday, he’s going to be a little bit longer yet.”

Pettersson has missed 11 games after originally thought to have a day to day timeline. He scored 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) in 26 games this season, including 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in his last 14 games. He took part in a morning skate March 4 but left early and hasn’t rejoined the team.

“He’ll continue to do what he can do, and he keeps visiting the specialist, and after his next appointment then he’ll let him know where he’s at,” Benning said.

Center Jay Beagle (undisclosed) also is not expected to return Sunday. Beagle, who has scored five points (one goal, four assists) in 30 games this season, hasn’t played since March 10 against the Montreal Canadiens and was placed on long-term injured reserve.

“I don’t have a timeline as to when he’s going to be available to play or not,” Benning said. “He’s seeing a specialist and I think rehabbing.”

Goalie Michael DiPietro, who has spent this season on the taxi squad, could play when the Canucks resume games. The 21-year-old rookie hasn’t played since March 11, 2020 with Utica of the American Hockey League.

“We have a goalie that’s maybe not feeling 100 percent yet,” Benning said without specifying if that was Thatcher Demko or Braden Holtby. “There’s a chance that Mike might be playing games for us going forward this year.”

Vancouver recalled goalie Arturs Silovs from a loan to Manitoba of the AHL on April 4.

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