Photo Credit: University of Michigan

WWYDW: The Mighty Quinn

Quinn Hughes is set to make his debut with the Canucks as soon as his injury heals. The Canucks could obviously use the help on the back end and the power play, but it’s important they keep in mind what’s best for his development, too. Who would you like to see as Hughes’ defense partner? Should the team allow him to play more than 10 games?

Last week I asked: Who would you like to see as a short or long term replacement for Erik Gudbranson?


Alex Biega has earned a regular spot in the lineup for the remainder of the season, and should probably get more playing time next year. He should have been playing in place of Gudbranson for most of the season before the deadline anyway. Longer time, I’d like to see the Canucks draft a couple of promising RHDs and develop internally. What they’re probably going to do is throw a lot of money at Tyler Myers, which may paper over some holes over the next couple of seasons, but if he starts to slow down in his early/mid-30s, which is certainly possible, he could end up being a real drag on the Canucks right as they should be entering their peak years.


For now I believe Luke Schenn could provide some sorrily lacking veteran leadership on the back end, not forever certainly but seems quite suitable to replace Gudbranson in the short term. It won’t be Quinn Hughes in that particular role and Utica presently has no one ready to step in in this capacity. Until we see what Benning does specifically with July FAs on the back end Schenn and the Bulldog will still be around for now.


Gudbranson plays the right side. The obvious short-term replacement for a place on the roster is Luke Schenn. Schenn was while there (which wasn’t very long) the best d-man for the Comets and appears to have worked on his first pass out of the zone, formerly a weakness for him.

When Tanev returns from injury Biega and Schenn can split time on the right side. Right now they’re both playing. If as most seem to expect Hughes is signed to play in the NHL to end this season then if everyone is healthy there will be too many d-men-Edler, Tanev, Hutton, Stecher, Biega, Schenn, Pouliot, Hughes, Sautner and Brisebois. Of those 10 only Sautner and Brisebois would be able to play for the Comets so they’d be sent down and I’d expect to see:

Hughes-Schenn or Biega
Pouliot in reserve

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I think the name free agent RHD are going to get really overpaid this summer.


If the Canucks luck out in the draft lottery this year and land a player like Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko who can make an impact next season, they should go for broke and try to get Karlsson. Vancouver would be a more appealing destination for him if the Canucks look like they could be competitive. Otherwise, I might just slog through the 2019-20 season with the defensive core that they have and try for Tyson Barrie in the summer of 2020. There are also a couple of good RHD – Drysdale and Barron – expected to go high in next year’s draft that the Canucks should have on their radar.

  • Killer Marmot

    1. Quinn and Tanev. Quinn’s a rover and an improviser, and needs an experienced stay-at-home guy to compensate for his inevitable defensive boo-boos.

    2. Under no circumstances should Quinn play more than 10 games. I have every confidence Benning isn’t going to, and even if he wanted to, it’s Green who ultimately decides who dresses, and he’s patently no idiot.

  • tyhee

    I expect the answers to be almost unanimous.

    1. If both are healthy enough to play, Tanev seems like the best available partner for Hughes the remainder of this season. Hughes biggest step is likely to be learning to play defence at the NHL level and Tanev is the most knowledgeable and consistent defensively among the right side d-men.

    2. It would seem beyond comprehension to even consider playing Hughes to the extent the Canucks would have to protect him in the expansion draft. Hughes development is not going to depend in any way on whether he gets into 8, 9 or 11 games this season. He’s not going to get the Canucks into the playoffs playing an extra game or two or three.

    It is possible that it won’t matter much for expansion purposes, but we can’t tell at this time how things look on the protected list two years from now. I don’t think it is good for the franchise in the long-term to try to build extra hope to maybe sell a few more tickets this summer when there is some possibility it could cost the team someone they want to keep later.

  • Goon

    Given that Hughes is still recovering from injury, I’d sit him out a couple of games, then get him into a few practices with the team and healthy scratch him, and get him in the final 9 games of the season. That gets him an NHL paycheque, eases him into the lineup, ensures he’s not playing on an injured food, and protects him from exposure to the expansion draft.

    I honestly can’t see any reason for the team to rush him into the lineup or play him more than nine games to finish the season.

    As for partners? I’d like to see the following pairs to end the season, in a few games’ time when everyone’s healthy:

    Edler / Tanev
    Hughes / Stetcher
    Hutton / Biega

    • Nuck16

      I like your pairings, just when I thought I had it all figured out, which was..
      Edler Tanev
      Hutton Stetcher
      Hughes Biega
      Sautner and Poulliot in reserve though we should really just waive Poolie…rip the bandaid off.

        • Killer Marmot

          Hughes and Biega both like to roam. I would fully expect to find both defensemen behind the opponent’s net at some point, with their wingers covering the points. Might not be the best combination.

      • Jackson McDonald

        I think the fact that he preceded that by saying “We don’t even know when he’s even going to be in here… I don’t think it’s fair to comment on that right now” would be considered “relevant and/or current information”

        It was deflection. You make it sound like he emphatically stated it wouldn’t happen when that’s not remotely the case.

        It’s all irrelevant now because his injury is going to keep him out anyway, but there’s far more spin in what you said than what I said. All I did was ask if the fans think he should play more than ten games. There’s no agenda there.

  • Dirty30

    Definitely play him 9 or fewer games, but pair him up with Schenn for his first forays out there.

    Reason: Schenn is a good stay at home Dman, shows good positioning, defensively responsible, has size and is willing to stick up for other players.

    If Quinn goes for a walk and gets in trouble he has Schenn backing him up. It’s not ideal, but starting with a solid positional/pushback capable Dman for early games in his career is a good start.

    Both can benefit from sheltered minutes.

    If Hughes is doing fine, he can play with other D just to get used to how things can change with different partners.

  • TheRealPB

    I’d play him after he’s recovered. I’m trying to figure out who we have to protect because of NTCs — Horvat, Roussel and Beagle I think. So seven forwards, three defensemen and a goalie. It’s highly unlikely that we go for 8 f/d plus a goalie given what we have on the roster. Unless we add anyone in free agency it’s basically the dog’s breakfast we have on D to choose three from. So even if Hughes went beyond the 10 games it would be him plus…Hutton and Stecher? It’s hard at that point to see a 34 yr old Edler (if he resigns) or a 31 yr old Tanev being that important. Obviously it would be an easier situation to not have to deal with. I just don’t see us blessed with a plethora of young gifted D like some of the teams in the last expansion draft scrambling to protect (with the best example probably being Minnesota who gave up Tuch and a pick just to protect Dumba and Scandella who they then traded anyway)

  • apr

    Guddy led the Pens in ice time and dominated the capitals – beat the holy crap of Tom Wilson. Looks like he completely stabilized the Pens D, and they are a threat for the Cup again. Its so, Canucks. He was my pick for Hughes partner before this market turfed him, with fellow turfed McCann.

      • Holly Wood

        Sports Net has televised 3 Penguins games since the trade deadline. Gudbranson has been playing 20 plus minutes each night and according to Pens coaching staff has been excellent since arriving and doing everything they hoped for including standing up for team mates (sorry apr he did not beat the crap out of Wilson, he merely showed up). He has been partnered with several different defenders and has been exactly what he was brought here to do. Why he couldn’t do it here is puzzling but he is definitely doing it in Pittsburgh.

        • Locust

          When he was here he tried to do waaay too much and I think he put a lot of pressure on himself. In Pittsburgh all he has to do is play ‘basic’ and follow the play. He doesn’t have to lead it. Big difference.

      • truthseeker

        exactly. who gives a sh…. what they do after they suck here. All the self loathers love to talk about that slug Bonino, who also did nothing but float here. If they can only perform when sheltered on better teams, then that should tell you a lot about the player themselves. Good for the “better” teams no doubt, but doesn’t do anything for improving our team.

        Besides….time will really tell. We’ll see if he can keep it up over the long term. Once again the self loathing cockroaches always put the cart before the horse.

      • Kootenaydude

        Just not a player for Greens system. He matches up better in Pittsburgh, but all the analytic guys that said he was the worst defenceman in the league, knew that. Not mobile enough for the Canucks. Good guy but he’s gone and people need to move on.

  • Locust

    Sit him for a few, let him hang with the guys and see what the NHL is like. I’d play him a couple of times on the road before he plays at home and just ease him in with sheltered situations. He is a skinny kid trying to learn how to play in a mans league, don’t wet your pocket protectors thinking he needs to be a thrown in as a showcase talent in his first few games in the league.
    Anyone that knows better and has actually played has been treated this way since they were a young teenager coming up through the ranks. College to Pro isnt much different than being 15 and playing against 17 year olds. There is a process and the worst thing to do (unless you are a Gretzky, McDavid, Crosby, Lemieux or Matthews) is to have any expectations bigger than “just go out there, keep your head up, have some fun and play the game”.

    • Killer Marmot

      I’d do the opposite. Play Hughes in every home game (bruised foot allowing), but leave him in Vancouver for one of the two road trips. Let the fans get a look at their next star.

      • Locust

        Marmot – you are VASTLY under valuing the teambuilding and group dynamics of roadtrips. They are what can MAKE a team great and overachieve past just their basic hockey talent.
        Not slinging mud here but it is hard to understand unless you have experienced it yourself.

        • Killer Marmot

          Team building isn’t the only priority. Throwing a bone to the paying fans, perhaps increasing next season’s ticket sales in the process, is also worthwhile. Let the season ticket holders be able to say “I was at Hughes’ first NHL game.”

        • Leaving Hughes in Vancouver also means he misses out on opportunities to get brought up to speed on Vancouver systems. Even if he doesn’t play, if he is healthy he can practice and/or take optional skates with the other healthy scratches and coaches.

  • Kanuckhotep

    They say Benning has addressed this issue but I’m saying, “Please Mr. Benning, do not let QH go beyond the nine games under any circumstances.” Just because it geographic/ territorial Seattle will definitely take a Canuck regardless. If the Canucks do the right thing with/by Quinn Hughes they’ll get to protect a good player by this process. That draft will creep on you faster than you think.