Price is Right: Norris Trophy love only a matter of time for Canucks' Quinn Hughes

May 5 2023, 10:45 pm

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As with Elias Pettersson and the Selke, rest assured folks, the time will come for Quinn Hughes. And if he plays a full season like he did the second half of this year, it’s absolutely on a tee for Hughes.

The Norris Trophy is very clearly a moving target. It’s tough to pin down perfectly what people want. Erik Karlsson obviously has the offensive numbers, but is a -26 player (imperfect stat but when it’s that big, my goodness). Granted he’s on a terrible team too, but yes, Hughes found a way to be a plus 15 on a terrible team. Ultimately, there’s a line when voters just can’t turn away though. When there’s that much offence, he needs to be recognized, and I don’t have a problem with it.

So, in the absence of a 100-point, 25-goal season, voters clearly want to see a balance of both — a display of elite capability on both fronts.

And in some cases, the best defence is a good offence. If you’re spending so much time in the offensive zone, guess what? They aren’t scoring on you.

In addition to all their flashy points, Cale Makar and Adam Fox are both top 25 in the league in dominating shot-attempt share percentages. There’s far more activity in the offensive zone than D zone when they’re on the ice. Hughes is 56th in the league.

If you’re screaming that’s his team’s fault not his, well you’re partly right. It is part of the equation. He is, after all, but a man. But the eye test reveals the same. He faces a lot of action, ergo, some will have success. And that looks like he may not be as stalwart defensively as the others. He simply has more at bats. If the at bats go down, and he stays fresher as a result, yes, these remaining voters will swing his way.

And you can also break this down another way. Karlsson needs to be nominated. He just does. Makar’s points-per-game is almost as good as Karlsson’s, he probably needs to as well. Heck he almost had a 20-goal season in 60 games. So we’re down to Fox.

And if Hughes had a double-digit goal total like Fox did, and the Canucks at least sniffed the playoffs? I think he’s there.

As it stands, and we’ll find out soon, Hughes will likely end up fourth or fifth in voting.

He’ll get there eventually.

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