Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes is seriously considering moving to the right side for the 2022-’23 season. If this transition should occur seamlessly, it would have multiple positive impacts. The concept was first contemplated in theory within the Vancouver press box this past winter, but not considered a legitimate option until more recently.
“I think it all depends on who’s able to play,” Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau told VHN. “It’s an idea. A lot would probably be indicated by if Tucker Poolman can’t play, and there’s no indication that he can’t, right now.”
There’s also no guarantee the right-handed Poolman can play. We’ll refrain from going into his personal history of headache issues that date back to his time with the Winnipeg Jets, nor do we need to rehash the countless previous examples from around the NHL of players who’ve had their careers sidetracked or ended by concussions. Clearly it’s a difficult situation, but Poolman has been giving it his best attempt to return after missing a total of 42 games last season.
“He’s been going full bore,” Boudreau said.
Yet here’s the rub. Regardless if Poolman were to play, Hughes on the right side could be hugely beneficial to the Canucks defensive depth chart. He has the skill set to handle headman passes and such on his backhand, but he’d be challenged by keep-in’s on the right wing boards.
No Poolman scenario:
Oliver Ekman-Larsson Quinn Hughes
Travis Dermott Tyler Myers
Jack Rathbone Luke Schenn
Extra: Kyle Burroughs or TBD
The Dermott and Rathbone pairs being, or becoming, 2A and 2B.
With Poolman scenario:
Quinn Hughes Luke Schenn
Oliver Ekman-Larsson Tyler Myers
Jack Rathbone Tucker Poolman
Extra: Dermott, Burroughs or TBD
There’s also the possibility of Dermott beating out Poolman for the final slot on the right side. Dermott’s a lefty who told us he’s grown comfortable playing the other side.
The more the merrier. Adaptability and depth flexibility are bonuses in today’s NHL.
“I know that Quinn has been practising on the right side at home, just in case that opportunity came up,” Boudreau added.