In this edition of the Vancouver Canucks News & Rumors, the organization officially names Quinn Hughes as the 15th captain in franchise history. Also, with Tanner Pearson potentially returning, the Canucks will have to trade a winger before the regular season. Lastly, an update on the Canucks practice facility.
Hughes Named Captain
The Canucks officially named Hughes as the organization’s 15th captain on Monday. He joins Canucks legends Stan Smyl, Trevor Linden, Markus Naslund, Roberto Luongo, and Henrik Sedin to serve as the team’s leader. The blueliner is replacing Bo Horvat and is the first defenceman to receive the honour from the club since Doug Lidster served as one of three alternating captains in the 1990-91 season.
“It means a great deal to me to be named captain of the Canucks,” Hughes said. “When I came here 5 years ago, I knew what I was walking in to having grown up in Toronto; just a crazy hockey market and a passionate fan base. It has been a pleasure and treat to play for this franchise and to be the captain is something that is incredibly special and something that I couldn’t ever imagine would happen.”
Hughes said he’ll lean on those around him, including the other leaders in the locker room, such as J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson, and Thatcher Demko. He added he’ll work with the Sedin twins as well and has talked to Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk about being a captain in a Canadian market.
Head coach Rick Tocchet has praised Hughes on his leadership ability since taking over as the organization’s coach. He said Hughes spoke up in the locker room when he had to and continued to praise the defenceman’s leadership on Monday.
“He mixes with everybody. As a captain you mix in with everybody. He said some uncomfortable things he had to say when some things didn’t go well or even put himself out there,” said Tocchet. “That’s what I like about this leadership group, they’re not afraid to say something to me.”
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He added making Hughes captain is the right decision because the players are excited about it. Meanwhile, Patrik Allvin said it was a significant milestone for the team as there was a change in leadership and identity of the team.
Hughes seems to be the right choice based on the locker room’s reaction and the praise from Tocchet. The Canucks have yet to name the rest of their leadership group, but it is likely Miller and Pettersson will be a part of it.
Canucks Will Likely Make a Trade Before Season
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman noted with the potential of Pearson returning to the Canucks lineup next season, the club will have to clear cap. He is currently on long-term injured reserve with his $3.250 million cap hit. Additionally, with Pearson returning to the lineup, the Canucks will have too many wingers. Therefore, the organization will likely trade a forward before the regular season.
The forward that makes the most sense to trade away is Conor Garland. He carries a $4.950 million cap hit with three years remaining on his deal. However, the Canucks have tried to ship him during the offseason but were unable to do so. Therefore, it’ll likely be tough to move him unless they add a sweetener to a potential deal. Otherwise, the Canucks will have to find an alternate route to create cap space.
Canucks Practice Facility Update
The Canucks have made a few upgrades at Rogers Arena over the past year and will continue to do so over the next year. The organization is looking for a location for a new practice rink. The Canucks are one of the two teams in the NHL without a practice facility, but that looks to be coming to an end.
According to CanucksArmy, the organization’s owner, Francesco Aquilini, has met with Simon Fraser University (SFU) president Joy Johnson about the team using SFU as a potential practice facility. Additionally, SFU would benefit as it would allow them to bring a Division 1 NCAA hockey program to the school, thanks to the facility. SFU’s Burnaby campus is the likely target for the team’s practice rink.