Quinn Hughes: Our Bright Hope
After a second-consecutive impressive season with the University of Michigan in the NCAA, Quinn Hughes turned pro in March 2019 and delighted Canucks fans with his skill level, poise and hockey IQ. He immediately became the Canucks’ most dangerous defenceman and gave the team an added dimension from the blueline.
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In helping the Canucks go 3-1-1 in his five games, Hughes picked up three assists and made more highlight-reel moves in those five games than the combined Canucks defence did all season.
However — and this is a big however — history is not on Hughes’ side when it comes to discussing his 2019/20 Calder chances. Since the 2004/05 lockout, only two defensemen have won the Calder: Aaron Ekblad in 2015/16, and Tyler Myers in 2009/10. Hughes would have to have an exceptional season to break down the stigma behind the Calder.
There is no doubt that Quinn Hughes has the talent to (at the very least) challenge for the Calder next season, but he is going to have to stay healthy, be paired with a steady partner (Chris Tanev perhaps?) and receive some prime power play minutes to allow him to inflate his offensive numbers. He could have all the fancy stats in the world, but unless Quinn Hughes puts up the first 50-point season from a Canucks defenceman since Christian Ehrhoff in 2010/11, it’s unlikely he warrants serious consideration.
Being the optimists that we are, we fully believe that a healthy Quinn Hughes can do just that. After an exciting debut for the team, and four impressive appearances since, he’s the most talented young Canucks defenceman to come through the system since Alex Edler‘s debut.