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Canucks’ Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes are getting closer to NHL Award status every year

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Lachlan Irvine
7 months ago
Another NHL Awards is in the books, and the Canucks won’t be bringing any hardware home in their luggage from Nashville.
But Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes are getting closer.
The NHL Awards in some ways are a legacy event. A lot of players win after years of eligibility as award voters across the league catch up with their reputations, and stay high in candidacy for years after.
For both Pettersson and Hughes, their reputations are still firmly in the development stage. But the votes are slowly but surely trickling in.
This year, Pettersson finished seventh in voting for the Selke Trophy as the league’s top defensive forward, albeit with an 150 point gap between him and the top six.
He also landed in eighth for the Lady Byng Trophy, including four votes for first place, as well as earning a fourth and fifth place vote for the Hart Trophy as league MVP.
Meanwhile, Hughes finished ninth in voting for the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenceman, including one first place vote and a pair of second place votes. But a clear chasm still separated him from from the next best vote getter, Buffalo’s Rasmus Dahlin.
What’s most fascinating is how they earned those votes. While a fair few of them came from Vancouver, a crucial chunk of them didn’t.
All six of Pettersson’s second place votes for the Selke came from reporters in outside markets including Detroit, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Denver. Hughes’ lone first place vote for the Norris came from Pat Hickey, a Hockey News reporter out of Montreal, while one of his two second place votes came from Detroit based reporter Helene St. James.
While both players arguably deserved more votes than they ended up with, that doesn’t mean they won’t ever get there. Finalists like Karlsson, Fox and Lindholm have either won previously or at been in the main conversation for seasons at a time, and past winners don’t always take home silverware at the absolute peak of their excellence.
Part of it is the political aspect of the awards, for lack of a better phrase. Winning can have a huge impact on things like contract extensions and bonuses, and past winners have sometimes been campaigned for at times when those opportunities are on the horizon.
The other part of it requires some team participation; specifically, the Canucks have to win with a little more consistency so their stars can get more national attention. Nearly every recent NHL award winner has been in the playoff conversation year over year, and it takes that kind of regular contention to earn the spotlight, even if you deserved more of it already.
As the Canucks improve around them, Hughes and Pettersson will undoubtedly earn more respect and recognition in other cities’ voting circles, and it’ll only be a matter of time before they start landing in the finalists categories for these awards. And they’re already making those strides even without team success on their side.
We’ll see how much their voting numbers grow this time next year.
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