3. Adam Gaudette
Adam Gaudette started the season as a healthy scratch, and he even played two games for the Utica Comets. However, things have trended upwards for the talented centre.
Gaudette has proven that he can play on the third line and take part in the secondary scoring role. Speaking of which, he scored 12 times (and showed some energizing goal celebrations.) while adding 21 assists for 33 points. I did not expect him to get put up these totals nor play like this.
His skating has been excellent, and and he’s gotten better with his decision-making. Gaudette looked more confident when it came to setting up his teammates. He even got some power play time as well, posting four goals with the man advantage. Hopefully, Gaudette can continue to develop next season.
4. Quinn Hughes
It’s not surprising that Hughes was playing really well, or that he’s a front-runner for the Calder Trophy. However, I simply did not expect him to eclipse the 50-point mark in his rookie season.
He and Detroit Red Wings legend Nicklas Lidstrom are the only rookies to reach 50 points in a season as a defenceman. The latter accomplished the feat 28 years ago in 1991-92.
Hughes was on pace for a 66-point season, and he could have broken the franchise rookie record for points by a blueliner, which Dale Tallon set in 1970-71 (56 points). Hughes has already achieved the 14th highest point total by a rookie defenceman.
The Canucks have never employed a defenceman like Hughes, and watching him hit the 50-point mark was simply incredible. With his smooth stride, excellent hockey IQ and ability to hold the line, Canucks fans are in for a treat for this young phenom.
All Vancouver fans should be thankful he somehow fell to them at No. 7 overall in 2018, and Hughes is only going to get better from here.