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Hughes focused on more goals and maintained the Canucks' shoot-first mentality

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Roman Joshi I thought for a moment.

At the NHL North American Players Media Tour in Las Vegas on September 16, the defense of the Nashville Predators was asked to name the NHL’s most underrated player.

what is his answer?

Quinn Hughes.

Joshi called the Vancouver Canucks’ defense “great” and “excellent”, and raved about how well Hughes skated and always seemed to carry the puck.

“I think he’s one of the best defensemen and it’s a lot of fun to watch,” Joshi said.

This comes from Josi, who was named the best defenseman in the NHL in 2019-20 by the Norris Trophy and finished runner-up last season.

And here’s the best part:

“I’m only 22 and I’m turning 23,” said Hughes, whose birthday is Oct. 14.

The seventh pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, Hughes was the runner-up for the Colorado Avalanche defense with 53 points (8 goals, 45 assists) in 68 games in 2019-20. Kare Makar Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year.

He scored 41 points (3 points, 38 assists) in 56 games in 2020-21 and set a record for a Canucks defensive player last season, scoring 68 points (8 points, 60 assists) in 76 games. .

His personal goals are clear this season.

“I want to score more, I want to shoot more on the net, I want to make more,” Hughes said. “Yeah. I want to contribute to a team that can win more games.

“I think it’s a mentality and trying to tear it up and put it through the net. That’s what I think. I’m always pass first. A little more into the middle of the ice.”

Video: VAN@CGY: Hughes shoots over goalie’s shoulder

During the offseason, Hughes skated three days a week at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan.

The group included his younger brother, the New Jersey Devils Center Jack Hughes2019 NHL Draft No. 1 pick, Devils defense candidate Luke Hughesthe No. 4 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft to play at the University of Michigan this season.

Seattle Kraken Forward was also included Matty BeniersWinnipeg Jets Forward Kyle ConnorDetroit Red Wings Center Dylan LarkinColumbus Blue Jackets defense Zach Werenski and Anaheim Ducks Forward Trevor Zeglas.

“Hard skating,” said Hughes. “It’s a competition. Guys are pushing themselves. Also, be very specific about what you want to work on.”

What specifically will help Hughes score more this season, especially knowing the Canucks could move him to the right side as a left-handed shot?

“I’ve been lucky enough to see a lot of Quinn this summer,” Werenski said. “He’s really good at what he does. His skating, his escape moves, his cutbacks. He’s always making something for other people. To me, I’m a shooter.” I don’t make as many things as him, but it was great to see him and learn from him this summer.

“I think what we worked on the most was attacking in the offensive zone, attacking downhill, taking the ice given by the forwards and not just shooting from the blue line but just standing there. increase. [defense] Attack partner, D to D, downhill. If you don’t like it, cut it back. Be creative. “

Werenski used Makar as an example.

Makar scored 86 points (28 goals, 77 assists) in 77 games last season. He led the NHL defense in goals and was second among defenses in points behind Joshi (96) and scored Norris. In his 20 games in the Stanley Cup playoffs he led the Stanley Cup his champion avalanche with 29 points (8 goals, 21 assists) and con his Smyth as the postseason’s Most Valuable Player. won his trophy.

“When you look at a guy like Kare Makar, you feel like he makes a difference every shift,” Werenski said. “It’s not just one or two shifts in a game. When you see him play shift after shift, you see him doing something. He pushes his play. He is attacking. He has an attacking mentality.”

“And I think Quinn and I have talked about making sure all shifts are done this summer. That’s what we’ve been working on.”

Jack Hughes has high hopes for his brother.

“I think [Quinn is] He will score more goals this year,” Jack said. He has a good shot, but I think he’s focused on using it. That means he was the league leader in assists on defense every year. [the NHL]but I think it’s time for him to realize that he can also score and beat the goalkeeper.

“He’s a guy who knows how to rack up points. 68 is a franchise record and will be broken this year and next year. I think his game will continue to improve.”