With Quinn Hughes turning heads on Vancouver’s blueline and pushing to become the third Canuck in as many years to get nominated for the Calder Trophy for best rookie, we will examine how the race is shaping up weekly.
It was a bittersweet week for both the Vancouver Canucks and Quinn Hughes.
On the sweet side, the Canucks celebrated the Sedins while winning twice, beating both the Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks. And Hughes had four assists on the week adding four points to his rookie-leading total of 45.
The bitter part? A mostly ugly 5-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks and some wins by divisional competition that meant the Canucks ended the week out of the first place position they’d held for a lengthy period.
And for Hughes, there were some misplays, especially on the defensive side of things.
He was also (in our opinion) disrespected by The Hockey News, which painted the Calder Trophy race as Colorado Avalanche defenceman Cale Makar’s to lose. (Not that Hughes probably cares at all.)
As it is, Makar’s 42 points in 49 games is second among first-year players, but he has a higher points-per-game percentage than Hughes, who has played in 58 contests. Hughes is quickly chasing Makar in points-per-game though, and has closed the gap of late.
In three games last week, Makar went pointless and was a minus-1 as the Avalanche won once and lost twice. He did, however, log over 22 minutes in ice time in two of the matches. Hughes, for the record, hit just under 27 minutes against the Ducks after hovering below the 19-minute mark in his two previous games.
And thoughThe Hockey News may be ignoring the Canucks' rookie, Hughes is getting attention from some other prominent voices in the national media.
But we can’t forget that Buffalo Sabres forward Victor Olofsson returned from an injury in style after missing a month-and-a-half. The winger was back up to his old tricks on Jack Eichel’s wing, putting up two goals and an assist in two games. It’s going to be tough for the 24-year-old Olofsson to find his way back in the race, but he’s only missed five more games than Makar…
How close is it?
Last week, we had Makar at a 65-percent chance to take the Calder Trophy, and it feels like Hughes has closed the gap since.
Let’s say Makar at 50 percent, with Hughes taking 45 and Olofsson the long shot at five percent.