Quinn Hughes VAN named captain

Quinn Hughes was named captain of the Vancouver Canucks on Monday.

The 23-year-old is the 15th captain and third defenseman to hold the title in Canucks history. Kevin McCarthy was full-time captain from 1979-82 and Doug Lidster was part of a three-player rotation with Trevor Linden and Dan Quinn in 1990-91.

"It means a great deal to me, especially being in a Canadian market," Hughes said. "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 to now be the captain, it's an incredible honor, something that I never even dreamed of."

Hughes replaces Bo Horvat, who was captain for four seasons before he was traded to the New York Islanders on Jan. 30 for forwards Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty and a conditional first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. The No. 7 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft has 241 points (26 goals, 215 assists) in 283 NHL games, including single-season Canucks records of 76 points and 69 assists in 78 games last season while he was an alternate.

Horvat was one of the players Hughes said he spoke to prior to taking the role, along with Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk and teammate Elias Pettersson.

NHL Tonight on Quinn Hughes being named captain

"I'm never going to be the loudest guy in the room," Hughes said. "I'm going to be a guy that hopefully can be a leader through his work ethic and in the games, and as time goes on I'll learn more and more about myself and being a leader and I feel real confident walking into this because of the coaching staff and the management I have with me and the people behind me.

"This is just the beginning for me but I'm hoping obviously to be a great leader. I think I will be."

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said the decision to make Hughes the captain came after discussions with coach Rick Tocchet, president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford and chairman Francesco Aquilini.

"It's a significant milestone here for the team signifying the change of leadership and the identity of the team," Allvin said. "This is just not a reflection on Quinn's exceptional talent on the ice. It's also reflection on him off the ice and his leadership qualities."

Hughes, the older brother of New Jersey Devils forward Jack Hughes and defenseman Luke Hughes, will enter the third season of a six-year contract he signed Oct. 3, 2021.

"I had great mentors in (Brandon) Tanev, Luke Schenn and (Jacob) Markstrom, and currently I am still learning from [J.T. Miller] and [Tyler Myers]," Hughes said. "Even guys who are around my age, Brock (Boeser), Elias (Petterson) and (Thatcher) Demko. I am always learning from those guys and taking things from what they do to try and incorporate that into how I lead, and hopefully I do the same for them.

"We just have to keep pushing each other. Everyone has something to prove this year, we just have to remember that fact through training camp to stay hungry and we need to be ready to go."

The Canucks were 38-37-7 last season, missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third straight season and seventh time in the past eight. They were 20-12-4 after Tocchet replaced Bruce Boudreau as coach Jan. 22.

"What I was impressed with Hughes was last year when I came in, just his love for the game, how his teammates, he mixes with everybody," Tocchet said. "I think that as a captain, you mix in with everybody. He said some uncomfortable things that he had to say if something didn't go well, or if he had to even put himself out there. That's why I really liked this leadership. They're not afraid to say something to me. That was important to me making that decision."

NHL Tonight talks about Quinn Hughes' impact

Hughes is the only defenseman from the 2022-23 opening night lineup to return this season (Myers missed the game with an injury). The Canucks bought out the final four seasons of Oliver Ekman-Larsson's eight-year contract June 16 and signed free agents Carson Soucy and Ian Cole.

"We informed our core leadership group that Quinn was going to be the captain," Allvin said. "Not only was everybody enthusiastic and supportive of the decision, but they were also extremely happy for Quinn. He is very well liked and respected inside our dressing room, and we know he will continue to grow and develop his leadership skills in the years to come."

Eight NHL teams are without a captain: the Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, Seattle Kraken and St. Louis Blues. Adam Lowry was named Jets captain Tuesday; Patrice Bergeron, the Bruins captain for the past three seasons, retired from the NHL on July 25; and Jonathan Toews, who was Blackhawks captain since 2008-09, was told by the team that he would not be re-signed after the 2022-23 season.

NHL.com independent correspondent Kevin Woodley contributed to this report

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