On the night Alex Edler set the Vancouver Canucks’ all-time record for goals by a defenceman, you couldn’t help but wonder if new teammate Quinn Hughes will one day be the player who breaks it.
The 19-year-old did not score in his National Hockey League debut, which left the defenceman 94 goals behind Edler, who turns 33 next month and has played 810 games for the Canucks.
But Hughes dazzled with his speed going forward with the puck, made a lot of smart defensive plays and accurate passes, and will be remembered in his debut for one audacious setup.
Young Canucks cornerstones Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser scored in their NHL debuts. Hughes, another foundational piece, merely had a world-class assist, embarrassing Los Angeles Kings’ veteran Trevor Lewis with a pass to himself off the back of the goal, then forcing a save from Jonathan Quick before Boeser scored on the rebound.
The crowd at Rogers Arena gasped in witness at Hughes’ move around Lewis late in the second period, then roared when Boeser popped in the goal. Of course, Canucks Nation has never been known for its measured restraint, either in good times or bad.