The defence was built bigger, stronger, faster
Out with the old, in with the new. That was the approach Jim Benning took with his blueline this year. Half the old roster was cut to make way for some new faces. Hughes, Tyler Myers, Jordie Benn and Oscar Fantenberg were brought in to give a new look to the Canucks back end.
What a difference! Hughes was an absolute game-changer for the Canucks. Just one season under his belt and the kid has become the best blueliner Vancouver has ever possessed. His skating abilities are unbelievable, his vision is perfect and he makes the power play an instant threat. He’s a franchise difference-maker for the Canucks. In 68 games, he put up 53 points. That’s insane. He’s here to stay, and he’s just getting started!
His counterpart, the 6’9 monster Myers! The former player of the WHL Kelowna Rockets inked a five-year pact with Benning and the Canucks leaving money on the table to play close to home. His first season was as advertised, but Myers brings a lot to the Canucks that they never had before.
The hulking defender is actually quite the offensive puck mover who really knows how to skate. He isn’t the guy who can go out there and dominate his own line but paired with a defence-first partner really bodes well with Myers. His size definitely didn’t go unnoticed and he was able to take some minutes off the shoulders of ageing veterans.
Benn and Fantenberg have served as great depth defenders for the Canucks, but the bulk of the load goes to Myers and Hughes. Without those new additions, the Canucks would have been in serious trouble this year.