The NHL announced the participants in their annual All-Star Game earlier today. Elias Pettersson was named to the Pacific Division team, and while that’s all fine and dandy, last season’s Calder Trophy winner is the lone representative from the Canucks.
That’s an issue that ought to be remedied in short order. Quinn Hughes deserves to be there just as much as Pettersson does, and I’ve got 43 reasons to prove it.
1. He is the epitome of a modern NHL defenseman. The NHL is trending towards players with speed and skill, which has allowed many young players in recent years to burst onto the scene and have NHL success almost instantly. Hughes has found this instant success, and is exactly the type of player that embodies what a defender should look like in 2019.
2. The game is there to showcase the league to a wider audience. If the purpose of the All-Star game is to showcase the league and it’s best players, wouldn’t you want; yes I know this is a crazy thought but try to stick with me here, the best players… from said league… to be there?
3. Mark Giordano is literally 36. Mark Giordano is a legend in his own right. He got absolutely snubbed from the All-Star Game last year, but there’s no way that a 36-year-old defenceman with 19 points on the season should be at the All-Star Game over a 20-year-old who’s been turning heads all season long and sits at a cool 28 points.
4. Hughes makes everyone around him better. I’ve written about this kid a lot (not sure if you’ve heard), and a theme that has come up over and over again is that Hughes makes everyone on the ice better, and that starts with his defence partners. In the 3-on-3 format, Hughes will thrive.
5. Hughes is a treat to watch 3-on-3. Canucks fans have gotten the pleasure of watching Hughes and Pettersson on the ice together for 3-on-3 overtime, and that’s a show that could easily be missed by many out East. It’s a show worth watching, and somebody should notify the NHL that Hughes is actually one of the most entertaining defencemen in the league to watch at 3-on-3 — especially with Pettersson out there as well.
6. The Pacific Division has a better chance of winning if he’s there. I know the All-Star Game sees a lot of low effort performances by most of the players, but to an extent, the players still want to win, and Hughes gives them a better chance at doing just that — you know, since he makes literally everyone around him better and all.
7. He’s been the superior Hughes brother so far. Media from coast to coast lost their minds over Jack Hughes all of last season right up until the draft, when the New Jersey Devils selected Jack with the first overall pick (New Jersey’s second first overall pick in three years).
8. He doesn’t deserve to be a “Last Man In” Candidate. Not all hope is lost in Hughes’ All-Star Game hopes, as he’s one of the “Last Man In” candidates. Fans can vote in one last player from each division, and Hughes is on that list. The thing is, he deserves to be there based off the original selection, not the additional, last second addition to the game.
9. He’s up against Drew Doughty as a Last Man In. Drew Doughty seems to be at every single All-Star Game, but the defenceman has not been selected this year. Kings’ forward Anze Kopitar was selected as Los Angeles’ lone representative, and Los Angeles has a total population of 4 million. That’s a lot of potential voters, which means Canucks fans far and wide need to do their due diligence and vote Hughes into this game.
10. The team needs more defencemen. The Pacific Division currently has one defenceman on their roster, and that’s Giordano. That means a forward is going to be tasked with playing defence during 3-on-3, and we know how dangerous that can be. I mean, are they even trying to win this thing?
11. Defence wins championships. In every year since the All-Star Game came to be, the team who allows the fewest goals has always won. Defence, people, defence.
12. Quinn Hughes can create some highlight reel goals. Hughes has already used his hockey sense, skating, and skill with the puck to set up jaw-dropping goals on more than one occasion.
13. Offence also wins championships. Another stat (cause I’m a big stat guy now), in every year the All-Star Game came to be, the team who scores the most goals has won. Offence is just important as defence, so why not get you a defenceman who can do both?
14. He has gamebreaking ability. The All-Star game is a game where epic comebacks are few and far between, but with the goalie pulled late in a game, when a team really needs a goal, Quinn Hughes is exactly the type of player who can turn the course of a game when given the opportunity. If the Pacific needs a miraculous comeback, they’ll be glad he’s there.
15. There are no rookies at the game. Believe it or not, there are no rookies at this year’s contest. I could rattle off eight reasons why Cale Makar should be at the ASG in a heartbeat. With a rookie class as talented as the one the NHL has this year, it’s almost criminal that no rookies are on the rosters at the time of this writing.
16. Canucks rookies have a habit of stealing hearts. In 2018, Brock Boeser caught the attention of everybody when he broke the accuracy shooting record at the skills competition, and won the MVP award for the main tournament. This made everybody take notice of his abilities, and although Pettersson didn’t have the same success at All-Star weekend that Boeser did, everybody had already heard about Pettersson’s skills. Now it’s time the world understood why Canucks fans are so thrilled with their rookie defenceman.
17. The Canucks’ rookie ASG streak. Boeser and Pettersson went to the ASG as rookies, and the Canucks have an eligible star-studded rookie for the third year in a row. Hughes needs to keep the streak alive.
18. There needs to be two rookies at the game. To be clear, Cale Makar deserves to be at this game just as much as Hughes does. Both have been an absolute treat to watch this year and should be on display for hockey fans everywhere to see.
19. Both “Last men in” could be rookie defencemen. It’s rare that the NHL gets two rookie defencmen leading the Calder conversation, and if the just thing is done, both last men in (as voted by the fans) could be rookie defencemen. The league should want their star rookies on display anyway, but it will be up to the fans to get them into the game.
20. Hughes would be one of the best defencemen in the whole tournament. So far, the defencemen that are slated to appear on All-Star weekend are Shea Weber, Victor Hedman, Roman Josi, Alex Pietrangelo, Dougie Hamilton, Seth Jones, John Carlson, and Mark Giordano. I won’t say Hughes is better than from that list, but there are certainly a few.
21. The Canucks haven’t had two representatives at the ASG since the Sedins in 2012. Team Chara beat Team Alfredsson by a score of 12-9. The Canucks were still considered cup contenders. Life was good, and both Sedins were at the ASG. Who better to be the first Canucks’ duo to go to the game than the team’s new franchise defenceman and centerman?
22. He’s humble. Have you ever heard Hughes say anything that was even remotely cocky? He’s confident, and for good reason, but an ASG appearance won’t go to his head.
23. He’s mature. When reporters asked about he and Jack’s sibling rivalry, Quinn explained that they want to see each other succeed, and that it would be kind of childish to worry about anything like that.
24. He could compete in any skills competition needed. If you’re the person who’s job it is to allocate which NHL stars compete in each skills competition, you’d love Quinn Hughes. Really, he could compete in any of the skills competitions. Fastest skater, hardest shot, the deking course, passing into those tiny nets, whatever it may be, Hughes could do it no problem.
25. Pettersson will be lonely. Last year, Pettersson spent most of his time with fellow Swede Erik Karlsson. The two became friends, but Karlsson won’t be at the game this year. Pettersson will need a friend, and who better to fill that void than another elite defenceman whom Pettersson is fond of?
26. He’s lived up to the hype. There was a lot of hype surrounding Hughes from the moment he was drafted. To come into the league the way Hughes has and completely change the dynamic of a team? Why wouldn’t you want this kid in the All-Star Game?
27. He’s cool under pressure. It was once said of a rookie Chris Tanev that it seemed as though he could play with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. The same can certainly be said of Hughes, who won’t crack under the bright lights and big stage of the nationally televised All-Star Game.
28. He could play keep-away the whole time if he wanted to. We’ve all seen Hughes’ ability to control the puck and slip away from forecheckers firsthand, but what if, as a way to stick it to the people who made him get in as a write-in vote, Hughes doesn’t allow the other team to touch the puck once. Just 20 minutes of Hughes spinning around in his own end with the puck on his stick to the chorus of boos. Then Hughes scores the only goal of the game and hits the crowd and the NHL with an Andrew Ference special as a way to say “next time, add me to the roster right away”:
Okay, maybe that’s pushing it. Back to the list.
29. The last time two defencemen led all rookies in scoring was in the 1930s. I know this could quickly become a list about why Cale Makar is equally as deserving to be in the ASG, but the point is, two rookie d-men this special deserve to be a part of the festivities. They only come every 90 years, you know.
30. He could break Pettersson’s rookie points record. It’s not likely, but hey, it could happen. Pettersson broke the Canucks’ rookie scoring record last year, and Hughes could break that record if he keeps this up, as a defenceman.
31. He’s on pace to break the Canucks’ points by a rookie defenceman record. Dale Tallon holds the record for most points by a rookie defenceman, tallying 56 points in 78 games. Hughes is on pace to break that record.
32. The Michigan goal is a trend, so send in Michigan’s finest. Everybody, even Elias Pettersson, has their sights set on pulling off the Michigan goal. Nils Hoglander has done it more than once, and Andrei Svechnikov (who should also be at the ASG) introduced the move to the NHL. Send one of Michigan’s best players to the ASG so he can set up Pettersson for a Michigan-style goal.
33. The skills competition would be much more entertaining with Hughes in it. I’ll just allow this tweet to explain what I mean:
I want to see Hughes Vs. Makar in the puck control relay, not Palmieri vs Bertuzzi!
— Darryl Keeping (@dkeeping) December 31, 2019
34. Actual stars should be at the All-Star Game. Now, not to rip into Palmieri or Bertuzzi or anything, but I wouldn’t really consider either of them to be “All-Stars”. I get every team needs to have a representative, but come on.
35. He answered a bunch of questions via Google videos. This is something I found out literally tonight, but Hughes answered a whole bunch of questions like “why does Quinn Hughes wear 43” and “are Quinn and Jack Hughes brothers” on Google. It’s questions like these that will be asked when the players walk the red carpet and sign autographs for fans, and Hughes is ready for it.
36. He goes with the flow. Nobody likes a player who is a prima donna, and Hughes is far from that, he just goes with the flow. Why does he wear the number 43 you may ask? Back at the U17 level, he was just given number 43, and has liked it ever since. That’s the definition of just going with the flow.
37. He stays focused and works hard. Quinn never basks in the glory of his accomplishments, and is quick to take everything in stride and continue to climb in his development. He’s earned the opportunity to be an NHL All Star after all those years of hard work.
38. His mom was an All-Star in every sport she played. Ellen Hughes was a defenceman who helped teach all three of her kids how to skate. She was an above-average hockey player, soccer player, and even a lacrosse player during her time at the University of New Hampshire.
39. He’s in on the Endy Mattress. All-Stars should get an All-Star calibre sleep at night, which is why Hughes uses the Endy Mattress, like many other great NHLers and podcasters. (Post not sponsored by Endy)
40. He needs a new HUT card. If you’ve played NHL 20, you’ll know that EA was a little late in adding him into their most popular mode, Hockey Ultimate Team. The options right now for Hughes are a base card at 83 overall (not good enough), and a 91 overall specialty card, which is just too expensive. Fans need a happy medium and an All-Star Game card sitting at an 88 overall could do the trick.
41. He tucks his jersey. Alex Ovechkin won’t be at the All-Star game, and Ovechkin is well known for tucking his jersey. Connor McDavid also occasionally tucks his jersey. You know who else tucked his jersey? Wayne Gretzky. Despite it technically being against NHL rules to tuck your jersey, that doesn’t stop Hughes from tucking his jersey every so often. He doesn’t care about your rules.
42. Being the first NHL All Star from his family is a big deal. The Hughes family isn’t much into bragging rights, but it’d still be cool for the eldest child of the three Hughes boys to be the first named to an NHL All-Star team. Jack will almost certainly get there one day, and who knows what Luke will do when he gets drafted?
43. He’s just fun to watch. At the end of the day, the simple reason Hughes should be at the ASG is because he is just incredibly fun to watch, and All-Star weekend is all about having fun, is it not?