Vancouver Canucks, Allvin, Hughes, Tocchet

Canucks Captain Hughes; The Gig Falls Into Place

Does the Vancouver Canucks selecting Quinn Hughes as their captain say a lot about him or more about Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller?

The job is symbolic in most cases these days, often handed to young stars who make, or will make the most money, and who represent the most talent on the ice. It doesn’t change the make-up of a team’s leadership core.

It’s a tradition in hockey more than anything else, which we all enjoy and tout, and of the Canucks group Hughes is clearly the biggest traditionalist. For the players in their day-to-day business it doesn’t really change anything except for certain off-ice responsibilities for Hughes.

Despite a contract that runs through the 2029-’30 season, I could see the 30-year-old Miller not wanting the gig. It would mean addressing the media more often than not and who wants that? Hughes, as often as he’s forced to repeat himself, will power through it, respecting the position, tolerating the chore.

On the ice it means more conversations with officials, another element one could see Hughes relishing.

The Pettersson option became tenuous when the star forward decided not to negotiate a new contract at the moment while in a contract year.

Like “Petey”, although seemingly diminutive personality-wise, Hughes embraces the opportunity and again, the tradition.

“It means a great deal to me,” Hughes said. “Being in a Canadian market, when I moved here five years ago and started playing for the Canucks I knew right away what a hockey market it is and how important hockey is to the city and the market and the people in Vancouver. So now to be the captain it’s an incredible honour, something I never even dreamed of and I’m gonna try my best.”

New captain “Huggy’s” teammates were on hand for the Monday morning press conference.

“You know you’ve made a great decision when you’ve got the guys over there, J.T., Petey and “Demmer” (Thatcher Demko),” Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet pointed out. “How excited they were when we told them, and like I said, it could have easily been one of those guys and Quinn knows that.”

Tocchet was the captain of the Philadelphia Flyers for 42 games during the 1991-’92 season.

Canucks Decision Making

Based on comments during the press conference, it sounds like the decision making process in this case filtered down from the club’s ownership family and through management.

Historically the NHL captain-naming process has ranged anywhere from player votes, to head coaches unilaterally making the decision, to what we have here.

Either way, bottom line, the club has a player who will embrace the role and grow into it. Hughes is under contract for four more seasons at an annual cap hit of $7.85-million. Barring any setbacks that number will go up significantly when Hughes is 27-years-old in the summer of 2027. Barring him surprisingly wanting out at that point, he’s not going anywhere.

That’s ultimately one of the biggest factors in Hughes being named captain.

“I’m never gonna be the loudest guy in the room, a guy that can hopefully be a leader through his work ethic, in the games, and as time goes on I’ll learn more and more about myself and being a leader,” Hughes said. “I feel real confident walking into this because of the coaching staff and the management I have with me and the people behind me, and as you see with “Millsy” and Petey and Demmer here, just means more than they can know to have them here with me.”

Leadership by committee with an appreciative young star wearing the “C”. All things considered, they’ve made the right choice.

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Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.