The Canucks added two defencemen in the past week through the NCAA.
Obviously, there was a lot of excitement surrounding 2018 7th overall pick Quinn Hughes making the leap to professional hockey, but they also signed Josh Teves from Princeton University as a free agent.
Both defencemen are expected to make their NHL debut at some point before the conclusion of the NHL season. They had different paths to the organization, but fans should be excited to see them don the Canucks colours to close out this year. It allows both players to get an understanding of what the NHL level is like heading into the summer and allows fans to get their first glimpse at them.
We'll take a brief look at both in this week's prospect update.
Video: Catch up with Quinn Hughes as he arrives in Vancouver
The Canucks top prospect signed his entry-level contract on Sunday afternoon and made his way to Vancouver on Tuesday.
Unfortunately, his debut has been delayed due to a bruised foot, but fans are eagerly awaiting to see what the young man can do.
Michigan was unable to overcome Minnesota in the first round of the Big10 playoffs, but Hughes did everything he could to get the Wolverines into the second round. His bruised foot from the game on Friday night was from aggressively charging out to block a shot and although his ice-time was limited after that, he battled through it.
There are still some NCAA games to be played, but Hughes is currently second in points and assists among sophomore defencemen. He currently leads that same group in assists per game with 0.88 A/GP.
Once Hughes does step into the lineup in Vancouver, he will provide an instant boost to the transition game, powerplay, and puck movement within in the offensive zone. He can create space for himself through his movement or is then able to thread a pass to a wide-open teammate.
His impact on the powerplay will be noticeable immediately.
Hughes' ability to gain the zone with control will allow the remaining four players to get into the open space and setup. His movement along the line allows him to create lanes to attack the net. This forces his opponents to adjust to cover and thus opening even more space for his teammates.
There will obviously be a learning curve for Hughes as he adjusts to the grind of professional hockey, but his hockey sense, skating, and playmaking abilities will give fans some 'wow' moments soon enough.
Teves joined the Canucks organization after signing a one-year entry-level contract on Tuesday as a free agent. The Calgary born defenceman was an invite to the Canucks 2018 development camp and had played in the BCHL for the Merritt Centennials in 2014-15, posting five goals and 28 assists in 57 games.
Teves finished his collegiate career with 20 points (3-17-20) in 30 games this season and led all Princeton defencemen in scoring with the second-place defender having 10 fewer points. He was a big part of their offence, regularly playing on their first powerplay unit.
In 2017-18, Teves registered seven goals and 26 assists, with that assist total being a Princeton single season record for most helpers by a defender. Earlier this season, Teves also set the Princeton record for most assists in a defencemen's career.
Canucks GM Jim Benning spoke about Teves vision and playmaking at the time of the signing and those are the things that do stand out about the left-handed defender's game. He is adept at making that first pass out of the zone and joining the rush to create odd man situations. He is responsible in all three zones and makes the right play more often than not.
Teves had a fantastic collegiate career that saw him really embrace a leadership role on the Tigers defence. He was tasked with big minutes from his sophomore season onwards and took noticeable steps forward in his development with each passing season.
The offensive upside won't be as high as Hughes, but Teves appears to give the Canucks another left-handed defender that relies on his smarts and skating abilities to move the puck in the right direction.