Quinn Hughes had a very memorable rookie season with the Vancouver Canucks and like Elias Pettersson before him, he’ll be even better in his sophomore year.
The fans got a glimpse of the talented defender at the tail-end of last season where he managed to post three assists in five games. Following it up this year, Hughes entered the season guns blazing and immediately looked like a guy who already had plenty of NHL experience. He racked up a very impressive 53 points (eight goals and 45 assists), and given the full opportunity, he could have very well broken the Canucks rookie-record which was reset just a year ago.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Hughes was leading all Canucks defenders in points by a wide margin. Alex Edler, the 14-year veteran was the closest defender, but a 20-point gap still remained between them. Not to mention he led all NHL rookies in points nearly all season long.
With the way Hughes was playing into the year 2020, he had more points than any other NHL defender. After the All-Star Weekend, (even though he was playing through an injury) Hughes was an unstoppable force who was only getting better.
Now, Hughes should only get better from here. Why? The kid actually has an arsenal of skills that can attack that question in several ways. For starters, he’s only 20-years-old. Name one person who got worse at defending professional adults before they’ve finished maturing. Hughes has a body to grow into, and trust me, he’s still got some growing pains to get through.
Not only should his skills on defence improve, but another season of quarterbacking the power play should bolster his offensive numbers even more. With a young core of players including Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat all another year closer to their prime ages of NHL performance, it’s more reason to believe the best is yet to come.
Most top-quality NHL blueliners age line a fine wine during their 20’s. It takes time to catch up to the speed of the game, but luckily or Hughes, he’s already flying circles around most of the NHL and he’s proving he can handle keeping up with the big dogs.
He actually thrives against stiffer competition and that’s all the more reason to believe he will come back a better NHL player next season.