Quinn Hughes has had a spectacular start to his NHL career.
With 21 points in his first 25 games this season, Hughes isn’t just on pace for the best season by a Vancouver Canucks rookie defenceman. He’s on pace for the best offensive season in franchise history by a defenceman, period.
Hughes is on pace for 68 points, which would break the Canucks record for points in a single season by a defenceman, set by Doug Lidster (63 points) in 1986-87. The 20-year-old is also on pace to break the team record among defencemen for assists (55, set by Dennis Kearns in 1976-77), and power play points (39, set by Paul Reinhart in 1988-89).
Again, those aren’t rookie records.
In terms of first-year players, Hughes is almost halfway to Dale Tallon’s rookie defenceman record for points (56) and assists (42), set during the franchise’s inaugural season in 1970-71.
He’s already just four points back of the rookie record for power play points by a defenceman (17) shared by Kearns and Tallon.
Forget defencemen, Hughes has already passed the halfway mark for the franchise’s rookie power play points record, on pace to collect 42 of them, which would shatter Brock Boeser’s record (23) set in 2017-18.
Despite Hughes’ intelligent defensive play, excellent skating, and brilliant passing, he’s excelling in a more understated way than Elias Pettersson and Boeser did the last two seasons.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 28, 2019
That’s a fact of life for a defenceman that puts up far more assists than points, while also needing to remain reliable defensively in a challenging position for a young player.
Consider this: Hughes is on pace to outscore Pettersson’s rookie season (66 points), which is the current record.
League-wide, Hughes has definitely put himself into the Calder Trophy race, though it will be a difficult one to win with Cale Makar piling up points (25 points in 24 games) with the Colorado Avalanche.
With less than two months to go before the NHL All-Star Game in St Louis, Hughes should be in the conversation. Hughes is currently tied with Brent Burns for fifth in NHL defencemen scoring, and trails only John Carlson in assists.
Hughes has been a major reason why the Canucks have improved this season, and it’s not just for his play in the offensive zone.
The rigours of the NHL game haven’t been overwhelming for the 5-foot-10 blueliner. Playing more than 20 minutes per night, Hughes leads all Canucks defencemen in Corsi-for percentage (54.60%), which is a wonderful indication of positive play for a young rearguard.
The challenge for Hughes, like Boeser and Pettersson before him, will be to stay healthy and to not hit a rookie wall of exhaustion.
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And if all that didn’t impress you, how about a look at his highlight reel, less than two months into the season?
— Sportsnet 650 (@Sportsnet650) November 28, 2019
This is Quinn Hughes pic.twitter.com/mZiCXKvS5U
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) November 28, 2019
Quinn Hughes pushed JT Miller forward with his stick and IT ACTUALLY WORKED 😂😂
— Bar South N Celly™ (@BarSouthNCelly) November 24, 2019
Quinn Hughes with a great entry, then BLASTS his first NHL goal pic.twitter.com/mQEWQkgO3c
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) October 10, 2019
This pass from Quinn Hughes. 👀 @Canucks
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) October 10, 2019
— J.D. Burke (@JDylanBurke) October 26, 2019
— Sportsnet 650 (@Sportsnet650) November 22, 2019