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Canucks 2019-20 Playoff Report Cards: Quinn Hughes

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The best defenceman in Canucks history was electric during the playoffs.

St Louis Blues v Vancouver Canucks - Game Six
Quinn Hughes #43 of the Vancouver Canucks reacts after teammate Jay Beagle #83 scored in the first period of Game Six of the Western Conference First Round of the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff between the St. Louis Blues and the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Place on August 21, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta.
Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Who needs the Calder when you’re smashing rookie playoff records?

In case you weren’t convinced that Quinn Hughes was the best defenceman in Canucks history (Kyle Bhawan said it first), then the 2020 playoffs should have you thinking otherwise.

How about starting with the records that Hughes set? First, there was the rookie playoff record for assists by a defenceman.

Then, he also broke the Canucks franchise record for points by a defenceman in the playoffs.

Finally, while Cale Makar originally broke the NHL record for points from a rookie defenceman with 15, Hughes one-upped him as the new record-holder, finishing with 16 points.

Strengths

It’s easy to start with Hughes’ dynamic ability with the puck in the offensive zone, but let’s focus on his defensive game for a minute.

We’ve quickly found out that being small in stature isn’t necessarily a hindrance for young Hughes. He’s always in such great position in his own end, and he does a great job of limited high danger chances.

Throughout the playoffs, Hughes has the lowest number of scoring changes against among all Canucks defenceman.

He can also force turnovers with his quick stick and when he does, he is one of the best defencemen in the league at exiting the zone, and completing his pass once he does exit the zone. Only Tyler Motte forced more takeaways for the Canucks during the playoffs.

Of course, we all know that Hughes comes to life in the offensive zone. That’s especially true when the Canucks are on the power play.

Hughes and Pettersson spearheaded a power play that was dominant against the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues. Hughes and his 6.8 power play points per 60 ranks fourth among defenceman in the playoffs, trailing only Miro Heiskanen, John Klingberg and Victor Hedman.

That’s some pretty good company right there, but it’s also where we expect Hughes to be now.

Weaknesses

It’s hard to find flaws in the for the best defenceman in franchise history, but he did have some struggles against a ferocious Golden Knights squad in Round Two.

The Blues did their best to try and be physical on Hughes, but the 20-year-old always seemed to be a step faster than the forechecking St. Louis forwards. The Golden Knights, however, found ways to be effective against Hughes physically.

And despite all the success by the Canucks power play in the first two series, they failed to produce against Vegas. Hughes only registered power play points in a crushing Game 4 loss. Otherwise, he was held pointless with the man advantage.

Best Moment

There’s a couple to choose from, like his first career playoff goal against Minnesota.

There was also this howitzer of a goal in Game 6 against Vegas.

Still, I think the winner has to be this unreal outlet pass that set up Bo Horvat for the overtime winner in Game 2 against St. Louis.

Overall Grade: Fuck a proper grade, this dude just rewrote the history books on what a defenceman can do in the playoffs.

Hughes faced a stern test against physical opponents throughout these playoffs. He’s one of the smartest players on the ice, and that showed and he found ways to overcome those obstacles and be a dominant player.

We’ve all said it before, but he’s only going to get better.

If you want a proper grade, give this man the A++