roman joussi I thought for a moment.
During the NHL North American Player Media Tour in Las Vegas on September 16, the Nashville Predators defender was asked to name the NHL’s most highly regarded player.
Defender Josie called the Vancouver Canucks “awesome” and “amazing,” grumbling about how good Hughes’ skate was and always seemed to have the disc.
“I think he’s one of the best defenders in the world and he’s a lot of fun to watch,” Josie said.
That’s high praise from Josi, who was voted Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defender in 2019-20 and took home second place for the award last season.
Here’s the best part:
Hughes, whose birthday falls on October 14, said, “I’m still 22, I’m 23. I wasn’t even close to peaking, and I think I’ll get better every year.”
Hughes, seventh in the 2018 NHL Draft Championship, had 53 points (eight goals, 45 assists) in 68 games in 2019-20 and was runner-up to the Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cal Makar for the Calder Cup as the NHL Rookie of the Year.
He had 41 points (three goals, 38 assists) in 56 games in 2020-21, then set a Canucks record for backers with 68 points (eight goals, 60 assists) in 76 games last season.
His individual goals this season are clear:
“I want to score more, get more shots at the net and make more,” Hughes said. “Yes, I want to help our team win more.
“I think it’s a mentality and trying to rip it off and put it in the net. That’s what I think. I always pass first. Getting in the middle of the ice is a bit more as well.”
Hughes spent time snowboarding three days a week at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan.
The group included his younger brothers, the New Jersey Devils Center Jack Hughes#1 Choice in 2019 NHL Draft and Devils defenseman Luke HughesHe is the number 4 selection in the 2021 NHL Draft who will play at the University of Michigan this season.
It also included a Seattle Kraken striker Matty PennersWinnipeg Jets forward Kyle ConnorDetroit Red Wings Center Dylan LarkinColumbus Blue Defender Jackets Zach Ferensky The Anaheim Ducks Forward Trevor Zegras.
“It’s hard skateboarding,” Hughes said. “It’s competitive. Guys pay themselves, and it’s also very specific to what you want to work on.”
What exactly will help Hughes score more points this season, especially knowing that Canucks could take him to the right-hand side as a left-hander?
“I’ve been fortunate to see Quinn a lot this summer,” Wernsky said. “He’s really good at what he does. His skateboarding, his escape moves, his cut-outs. He’s always making things up for other people. For me, I’m more of a shooter. I don’t really innovate as much as he does so being able to watch and learn from him this summer has been amazing.” .
“I think the thing we worked on the most was attacking in the attack zone, attacking the slopes, taking the ice that the attacker gives you, not just shooting it off the blue line and not just standing there. [defense] The partner, from D to D, attacks a ramp. If you don’t like it, cut back. Do something creative.”
Werenski used Makar as an example.
Makar scored 86 points (28 goals and 77 assists) in 77 games last season. He led the NHL defenses in goals, came second only to Josie (96) among defenders in points and Norris won. The Stanley Cup champion led the Avalanche with 29 points (eight goals, 21 assists) in 20 games during the Stanley Cup playoffs and won the Con Smith Cup as the most valuable player in the post-season.
“I feel like when you watch a guy like Cal Makar, every shift makes a difference,” Wernsky said. “It’s not just two or two shifts in a game. Every shift you see there, you see him doing something. He pushes with play. He attacks. He has that attacking mentality.
“And I think that’s something that Quinn and I talked about this summer, is making sure we all have our shift, and that’s something we’ve been working on.”
Jack Hughes expects big things from his older brother.
“I suspect [Quinn is] Jack said, “I’m going to score more goals this year, that’s for sure. I know he’s focused on his shot a lot. He’s got a good shot, but I think he’s focused on using it. I mean, he’s been a league leader in assists for the backers every year he’s been.” [the NHL]But I think it’s about time that he kind of understands that he can score and beat goalkeepers.
“He’s a guy who knows how to put points, and I think 68 is a franchise record that will be broken this year and the next etc. I think his game will continue to improve.”