Quinn Hughes is under contract with the Vancouver Canucks through the 2026-’27 season at an annual cap hit of $7.850-million per year. It seems like a pretty reasonable number at this point, but both he and the organization would like to see it considered inadequate. It would mean “Huggy’s” upside trajectory continues to soar.
“For me I think every year I can get better and there are still defence in the league that are better than me and I want to be right up there with them, so that’s what I’m pushing for,” Hughes said postgame Tuesday night.
Not a bad aspiration moving forward.
Hughes took the next step in the 5-2 Canucks victory over the Seattle Kraken when he tallied a goal and two assists and established a new single season franchise points record for a defenceman with 66. He has two games remaining to add to it.
Doug Lidster held the previous mark of 63 points, set way back in 1986-’87.
“Sounds crazy but I think I’m more satisfied with the plus-minus and my overall game than the points,” Hughes said. “Honest to god, of course the points are nice but it was such a hard year last year with being dash (minus) 24 and I took it personal. So this year that’s what I’m most happy about to be honest and I think next year I can keep getting that number up.”
This season he’s a plus-8. While piling up the most minutes on the back-end, he also has the blueline’s best team possession numbers by far. Under head coach Bruce Boudreau Hughes was added to the penalty kill and truly rounded out his game.
“I do know that it was something that he was consistently talking about, that was a goal of his to get from minus-24 last year to being a plus player and a player you can count on in defensive situations,” Boudreau said Tuesday night. “That’s what great players do, they work on stuff that they don’t think they’re good at. He’s a great skater and a great passer and those are great things, but the other things he’s not doing well or didn’t do well is what he was concerned about and that’s what makes great players great.”
“In my crazy mind I have more goals that I want to do and we’ve just got to keep going,” Hughes said.
The team’s improvement under Boudreau didn’t hurt, neither did the opportunities and growth that came with it.
“That’s a big thing right there, learning,” Hughes said postgame. “I feel like the last forty games have been the best of my career by a lot, by a landslide, just my overall game, not the points. My rookie year I had a lot of points but I wasn’t controlling shifts out there. I think I’m doing a better job at that, we have a better team too.”
The Vancouver Canucks went 31-15-and-9 after Boudreau’s arrival and the players plan on picking up next season wherever they leave off this week.