The Vancouver Canucks’ team MVP could be Jacob Markstrom, J.T. Miller or Quinn Hughes. Today, we look at why Hughes should be considered the most valuable.
When looking back over the 69-game season the Vancouver Canucks got to play this year, it’s mindblowing to consider the fact that this hockey club was lucky enough to have not one, but three players who all make up a serious case for the team’s Most Valuable Player award. Not only that, but each player is a pivotal piece to the puzzle of Vancouver, and each player is the best at their individual position.
Yesterday, part one covered why the Canucks’ best forward, and 1/3 of the lotto-line, J.T. Miller deserves to get the nod from his team as their most valued player. You can find that article here. Today, rookie phenom Quinn Hughes is placed under the microscope. What did he accomplish in his first year of professional hockey? Was it enough to be crowned MVP? Let’s take a deep dive.
The case for Quinn Hughes being the Canucks MVP:
Coming into the 2019-20 NHL campaign, the hype was high for Hughes to make an impact with the Canucks. People got a glimpse of him at the tail end of last season, and fans from around the greater area of Vancouver wanted him to be a ready NHL player on the backend. As it turns out, very few people predicted the instant change he would provide this team. In a big, big way, Hughes reshaped the 50-year old franchise into something it had never been before, and it seemed he did it overnight.
Only seven games passed in October before the head coach, Travis Green removed franchise defender, Alex Edler from the first unit power play in favour of the smooth-skating rookie from Orlando, Florida. Hughes pencilled in on the top power play stable and instantly went to work.
His ability to effortlessly move the puck, quarterback the blueline and find the open man is something that has your jaw hitting the floor. For a smaller guy, he’s sure hard to catch on a pair of skates. He’s slippery, elusive and highly dangerous with the puck. Straight up, he’s the best defenceman the Canucks have ever had, hands down.
Through 68 games this year, Hughes put up a monstrous 53 points. That’s good enough for third in team scoring, only under Elias Pettersson, (66 points) and Miller (72 points). As a matter of fact, that’s the best season put together by a Canucks defender almost ever. Even Edler’s best year in Vancouver was a 49 point year where he played all 82 contests. Now imagine what Hughes could have done in that time?
You could argue the idea that Hughes had the confidence all along, and that he knew from the get-go how it was only a matter of time until he took over as the top-dog on the Canucks’ blueline. His self-confidence never wavered this season and he’s only going to get better. The minutes themselves back him up. He’s second on the team with 21:53 on average per game, trailing only Edler by a fraction.
Coach Green has given Hughes the go-ahead to be all that he can be. For Hughes, it starts on the man-advantage. He put up a team-high 25 power play points which shifted the Canucks special teams up the rankings. His quarterbacking of the power play while up a man is a natural-born ability for the youngster. The Canucks hovered inside the top five all season long and currently hold 4th just below the Blues, Bruins and Oilers.
It’s really a crying shame the season has been put on hold. Seeing what the kid could have accomplished in a full season really makes the mouth water. Without a doubt, he’s the Canucks’ best defender, he bolstered the power play and really gave this team a chance to make the postseason. Hughes might just be the team’s Most Valuable Player. Doesn’t matter which way you slice it though, the Canucks have a franchise player at the top of their blueline. If he’s not the team MVP, he’s most certainly their best man on defence.
The finale of this three-part series drops tomorrow. Jacob Markstrom might just be the front-runner for MVP of Vancouver. Stay tuned and find out why.