3 Canucks players who must step up with Thatcher Demko sidelined

The Vancouver Canucks are in trouble if a few high-caliber players are unable to step up in star goaltender Thatcher Demko’s absence.

Vancouver Canucks v Vegas Golden Knights
Vancouver Canucks v Vegas Golden Knights / Candice Ward/GettyImages
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It’s time for Quinn Hughes to take his complete game up another notch

Regardless of their respective style, there isn’t a single team in the NHL that doesn’t want a blueliner like Quinn Hughes. Since his first full season in British Columbia, Hughes has been outstanding for the Canucks, having finished in the top 15 for the Norris on three separate occasions and steadily producing more with each passing season. 

He won’t get in front of a ton of shots, and even without Demko, that still shouldn’t be Hughes’ primary objective. Instead, he needs to steal the puck closer to what he did last season - 56 takeaways in 2022-23 - get more puck retrievals, and help create even more opportunities in the offensive zone. 

These are all factors Hughes has predictably played well in this season, but we must see more of it until Demko returns. He’s operating at a career-high Corsi For at 5-on-5, but it would be great to see him do what he can to take that number up a notch or two. 

Hughes is also leading the team in defensive points shares at 5.5, just a fraction higher than fellow defenseman Filip Hronek. It shows his overall defensive play has been stellar, but he can always take it higher during a time of adversity for the organization.