Canucks: 10 things to be proud of and grateful for this year

VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 2: Ian Cole #28 of the Colorado Avalanche looks on as Elias Pettersson #40 of the Vancouver Canucks is congratulated by teammates after scoring during their NHL game at Rogers Arena November 2, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)"n
VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 2: Ian Cole #28 of the Colorado Avalanche looks on as Elias Pettersson #40 of the Vancouver Canucks is congratulated by teammates after scoring during their NHL game at Rogers Arena November 2, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)"n /
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Quinn Hughes #43 of the Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Quinn Hughes #43 of the Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images) /

4. Three Canucks made the 2020 All-Star Game

For the first time since the NHL went to a 3-on-3 ASG format, the Canucks sent three participants. Not only that but by sending a center, defenceman and goalie, Vancouver was the only team to feature a major All-Star at each position.

Another milestone for the Canucks was the fact that Hughes’ appearance made it three straight years that the Canucks were represented by a team rookie. Elias Pettersson was last year’s rookie making back-to-back appearances and Brock Boeser was the rookie of 2018.

Pettersson, Hughes and Jacob Markstrom were well-deserved of the special honour and it was definitely something for them to be proud of, but for the fans of the Canucks to be proud of as well. The future is bright at each position for the Canucks.

5. 12 Canucks were having career seasons

The 2019-20 Canucks were an offensive threat who often managed to find the back of the net at will. With a young core on the rise and an all-new supporting cast filled with experience, coach Travis Green got the best of his players and everyone knew their role on the team.

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Miller exploded offensively leading the team with 72 points through 69 contests. Pettersson was not too far behind him, tying his previous best of 66 but doing it in three fewer games. Their P/GP totals were respectively a (1.07) and (0.97). That’s career numbers for both of the team’s two best forwards.

Tyler Toffoli (1.00), Boeser (0.79), Hughes (0.78), Horvat (0.77), Tanner Pearson (0.65), Adam Gaudette (0.56), Josh Leivo (0.53), Jake Virtanen (0.52), Zack MacEwen (0.35) and Chris Tanev (0.29) also all had career digits in points per games played. That’s 12 Canucks with career-high numbers, what an achievement!

6. Canucks had a reliable goaltending duo

Markstrom was arguably the team MVP. His NHL best, eight stolen wins launched him head and shoulders above all starters and proved to be a mindblowing stat that carried the Canucks deep into their playoff quest. Markstrom earned a well-deserved ASG appearance labelling himself a true goalie and polished it off posting a career-best, (0.918%) save percentage.

Thatcher Demko was everything you needed in a rookie backup. He further improved his game, gained valuable NHL experience and proved he had the jam to hold down the fort in Markstrom’s absence. This duo was a reliable combination from October to season’s end no matter who was starting in goal.

7. Hughes’ rookie season was out of this world

As a Vancouver Canucks fan, I can truly say that up until the arrival of Hughes, I had no idea what a real defender can bring to a team. Hughes’ rookie season was fascinating, mesmerizing, magical and exciting all at the same time. The kid was a power play specialist, a puck possession magician and a true franchise difference-maker.

Hughes didn’t let anything get in his way. It didn’t matter the goal, or what the assignment was, Huggy-Bear passed with flying colours showing heaps of experience well beyond his years all along the way. His 53 points were third-best on the team, first overall amongst his defensive teammates and tied for fourth across the league when it comes to the blueline. If not a Norris finalist, he’s most definitely a Calder Trophy favourite.