When Elias Pettersson took to the ice for practice at Rogers Arena Saturday morning, minutes after signing an eight-year, $92.8-million contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks, teammates couldn’t help but notice a difference.

“He’s smiling everywhere he is. You know, I’d be smiling if I got that much money too,” joked teammate Brock Boeser. “I’m just so happy for him, and happy he’s committed to stay here and wants to be a part of this organization.”

“Just seeing him, I think it was a big of a weight off his shoulders. I mean, I think he handled it really well the entire year and didn’t make a big deal out of it or talk about it at all. But, of course, it’s going to be in the back of your mind,” said Quinn Hughes, who considers Pettersson a close friend.

“We have played together for a long time now, and you know, when I first came in, I was 19 and he was just turning 20. Happy for him as a teammate, but also on the other side of that that, he’s going to be here for a long time,” said Hughes.

Head coach Rick Tocchet is also happy he’ll be able to count on Pettersson for years to come.

“He’s been here five years, you know, been a Canuck for five years, and now pretty well going to be a Canuck for the rest of his career. It’s something that I think he really wanted this year by talking to him about it. And this is going to be his home, so it’s exciting for Petey. I am really happy for him,” said Tocchet.

The new contract, which is the richest in Vancouver Canucks history, puts an end to weeks of speculation on Pettersson’s future with the team that drafted him back in 2017.

“I said it the other day, I think regardless if you say it’s not in your mind, it’s obviously in your mind. It’s a lot of money and it’s a big commitment, and I’m just happy he can put it past him and really just focus on doing what he does best, and that’s being a leader and producing for our team,” said Boeser.

“I don’t know if it really affected me that much. As coach you live day to day, game to game. But you also have to think of the psyche of a player too, so I think he can kind of relax a little bit now knowing that he’s got a lot of money coming this way,” added Tocchet.

The signing is also a boost for a team that’s struggled of late, losing six of its last seven games.

“It’s obviously huge for our team and our organization and the city,” said Boeser. “He’s shown that he’s a phenomenal player and, you know, he’s a great kid, and you know just to put it past us and now we can focus on what we want to achieve is huge for our group.”

The Canucks next face off against the Ducks in Anaheim Sunday afternoon.