Canucks: ranks Quinn Hughes as the 11th best defenceman

Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit ranked the top 20 defencemen, and Vancouver Canucks’ star Quinn Hughes placed 11th on the list.

It’s been over two years since the Vancouver Canucks selected Quinn Hughes with the seventh overall pick in 2018.

And it’s still amazing to think about how Hughes fell to the Canucks. He’s only played in 73 total NHL games, and yet Hughes is fourth in scoring among players from the 2018 draft class with 56 points.

The Canucks brought in Hughes for a five-game audition late in 2018-19, with the playoffs already out of reach. Hughes dazzled in each game, finishing with three assists while averaging 18:05 time on ice per contest.

Expectations were extremely high for Hughes entering his 2019-20 rookie season, and the smooth-skating blueliner was up for the challenge. He scored eight goals and 45 assists in 68 games, earning a Calder Trophy nomination. Colorado Avalanche defenceman Cale Makar wound up winning the award.

Simply put, Hughes has already built up his case as one of the elite NHL blueliners. And you know he’s only going to get better from here. Several Norris Trophy wins appear to be in his future.

David Satriano of ranked the top 20 defencemen ahead of the 2020-21 season, and he placed Hughes 11th on the list. Here’s what Satriano had to say:

"“The runner-up for the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year last season, Hughes led NHL rookies in assists (45), points (53) and power-play points (25; three goals, 22 assists) in 68 games, and his 21:53 of ice time per game was second (defenseman Ethan Bear, Edmonton Oilers, 21:58). Hughes helped the Canucks reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2014-15 and scored 16 points (two goals, 14 assists) in 17 postseason games.”"

For what it’s worth, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning took the top spot on the list. Alex Pietrangelo (fourth) of the Vegas Golden Knights was the only defenceman in the Pacific Division that was ranked higher than Hughes.

The 11th spot seems fair for Hughes. You can argue that he was one of the league’s top-five defencemen for large periods of 2019-20, but most of the players ranked ahead of him have larger career bodies of work and more accolades.

That said, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Hughes found himself in the Norris Trophy conversation in 2020-21. Few defencemen can match his world-class speed, puck-moving skills and game-changing ways.

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2019-20 was only the beginning of something special for Hughes, who’ll be an integral part of the Canucks’ Stanley Cup quest for many years to come