Don’t look now, but with today’s injury news concerning Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes has waltzed into the frontrunner position for the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year.
The 20 year old has 24 points in 29 games so far this season and hasn’t look out of place at the NHL game for even a minute. What’s surprising to most Canucks fans though is Hughes’ defensive acumen. He’s not simply an offensive dynamo who ignores his own end. He’s a full 200 foot player.
“My defensive game is undervalued,” the 20-year-old Hughes said to The Province’s Ben Kuzma. “It’s something I’ve tried to really work on because I know people pick at it. At times, it’s just as good as my offensive game and I really trust it. At Michigan, I was used as a shutdown guy in key situations and it was good for my overall game.”
Paired with fellow Canucks newcomer Tyler Myers, Hughes and Myers have surprisingly been the team’s best defensive tandem.
“I’m going to do some really special things out there, but at the same time, I have to remember my position and this is a team sport and I can’t be giving up things.”
At this point, it’s hard to argue. Hughes has literally been everything the Canucks have hoped for and more. Here’s hoping that the best is still to come.