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Sedins excited about present, future of Canucks

Longtime Vancouver forwards say team well-positioned for current season, beyond

by Kevin Woodley / Independent Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin like what they see with the Vancouver Canucks, now and for the future.

The twins, who will have their numbers retired by Canucks on Wednesday for their accomplishments during 17 NHL seasons, all with Vancouver, say the current team can do big things this season, and that the outlook for the years ahead is also bright.

"They can beat anyone in this League, and that's exciting," said Daniel, who is first in goals (393) and second in games played (1,306), assists (648) and points (1,041) in Canucks history. "They can play some meaningful games this year and hopefully go a long way in the playoffs, but they have all the pieces to be successful a long time."

Daniel and Henrik each received a standing ovation when they were shown on the big screen during the Canucks' 6-2 win against the Nashville Predators at Rogers Place on Monday.

Video: Budweiser Canada lifts Sedin numbers around Vancouver

The victory helped the Canucks (31-21-5) extend their lead for first place in the Pacific Division to three points over the Edmonton Oilers.

Rookie defenseman Quinn Hughes had three assists in the victory against Nashville to give him 44 points (eight goals, 36 assists), which leads all NHL rookies. The 20-year-old joined Hockey Hall of Famer Ray Bourque as the only rookie defensemen to have four games with at least three assists.

The Canucks also have center Elias Pettersson, who was voted winner of the Calder Trophy last season as the top rookie in the NHL. The 21-year-old leads the Canucks with 57 points (23 goals, 34 assists).

Vancouver also has young, homegrown forwards Brock Boeser, a 22-year-old who has 45 points (16 goals, 29 assists), and Bo Horvat, a 24-year-old with 45 points (17 goals, 28 assists). J.T. Miller, a 26-year-old forward acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning in a trade on June 22, has 56 points (22 goals, 34 assists). The play of goalie 30-year-old goalie Jacob Markstrom, who is 21-16-5 with a 2.81 goal-against average and .915 save percentage, is another reason the Canucks could get to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2014-15.

"They have a lot of young stars," Henrik said.

Like the Sedins and retired forward Markus Naslund, who was honored before the game Monday along with Canucks greats Pavel Bure, Trevor Linden and Stan Smyl, Pettersson is from Sweden.

Linden sees the connection.

"The greatness Markus displayed and Daniel and Henrik and now to see Elias kind of follow up, and he's a special player," said Linden, who was president of hockey operations when the Canucks selected Pettersson No. 5 in the 2017 NHL Draft. "He's special not just because of his skill, but from what's inside. You can see the fire burns deep in his competitiveness, so it's going to be fun to see where he gets to over his career."

Henrik Sedin, the Canucks' all-time leader in games played (1,330), points (1,070) and assists (830), said it's easy to see why Hughes and Pettersson have been successful so early in their NHL careers.

"Confidence," he said. "They seem to be guys that just step on the ice and know they're good. That's impressive at an early age."

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