Wednesday’s surprise trade with the Detroit Red Wings wasn’t popular with a lot of Vancouver Canucks fans, but it was likely well received by players and coaches.
While Canucks fans have been clamouring for the team to take a patient approach to rebuilding their roster, management once again has opted for a quicker retool path. That strategy didn’t work for previous GM Jim Benning, and we’ll see if Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin have better success.
While management is supposed to take a long-term view, players and coaches are naturally on a shorter time span.
And for that reason, we shouldn’t be surprised by Quinn Hughes’ comments after the morning skate today.
“Obviously we don’t want to be here for a rebuild and have to wait and do all that,” Hughes told reporters when asked about the team’s decision to retool.
“I don’t think we’re crazy far out of competing and doing well,” Hughes added, pointing to Thatcher Demko’s absence from the lineup. “So for [management] to do that, it’s obviously encouraging and we’ve just got to keep doing our jobs and trying to play hard.”
Hughes has been carrying the Canucks’ defence lately, even more than usual with injuries and trades affecting the roster.
The 23-year-old blueliner is one of just nine NHL players averaging over 25 minutes of ice time this season. He played over 30 minutes in back-to-back games in Nashville (30:11) and St. Louis (30:48), before returning home to play 28:04 against Boston, and 26:46 in Dallas.
Filip Hronek will help in that regard. He’s an all-situations defender that played 21:32 per game in Detroit this season.
“It should be good. I’m excited for him to get here,” said Hughes.
Head coach Rick Tocchet isn’t sure if Hughes will be paired with Hronek once he arrives, but he said he’s “open for anything.”
“We’re really excited. He’s a top-four defenceman,” said Tocchet. “He’s got a bomb from the point. A piece that we needed — right-handed defenceman that can play in your top-four, 22-minute type of guy. I think we’re fortunate to get him.”
Hronek is currently injured, but it isn’t believed to keep him out long. The Canucks begin a six-game homestand tonight against Minnesota before the Toronto Maple Leafs come to town for a 4 pm game on Saturday.
The NHL trade deadline is set for noon on Friday.