WWYDW Summer Debates: Is Quinn Hughes already the best defenceman in Canucks history?

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
9 months ago
Welcome back to WWYDW, the only hockey column on the internet that’s always huge news.
Speaking of hug(h)e(s) news, it’s all pretty quiet on the Quinn Hughes front.
He’s still a Vancouver Canuck, still under contract for four more seasons, and still one of the best young defenders in the NHL, having just finished ninth in the Norris Trophy race.
But “same ol’, same ol’” doesn’t exactly make for exhilarating summer programming. So, let’s kickstart a Summer Debate about Hughes, just for the fun of it.
This isn’t a new debate, exactly. It’s something that folks have been talking about pretty much since Hughes first hit the ice for the Canucks back in 2019. And it’s this:
Is Quinn Hughes already the best defenceman in Canucks history?
Sure, there have been plenty of good ones. You’ve got your Jyrki Lummes, your Ed Jovanovskis, your Mattias Ohlunds, your Kevin Bieksas, your Doug Lidsters, and your Dan Hamhuises.
But did any of them ever rise to the level of play that Hughes has already achieved, a mere four seasons and change into his professional hockey career?
We know what we think, but that’s not what this column is about. This column is about what you think, and specifically about which one of you thinks in the most convincing manner possible.
This week, we’re debating:

Is Quinn Hughes already the best defenceman in Vancouver Canucks history?

Make your case in the comment section!
Last week, we debated:

Who has the best shot in Canucks’ franchise history?

Your best shots are listed below!
Killer Marmot:
Pettersson. His 16.6% (one goal in every six shots) career shooting percentage is awesome, and this 98 lb weakling can shoot over 100 MPH (although admittedly with the aid of modern hockey sticks, which are technological marvels.)
And Dan Woodley. His 66.7% career shooting percentage will likely never be beat.
Slammin’ Sami Salo.
Vincent David Jericho:
Bobby Schmautz?
Justin Dymond:
Daniel Sedin. Pretty sure he still holds the record for fastest/most accurate shot in a skills comp. I don’t believe having the hardest shot should have much bearing on how proficient of a shooter one can be. D. Sedin showed time and time again that he possessed a lethal and extremely accurate shot while still being an excellent playmaker.
The greatest single shot in Canucks’ history was Bure breaking the radar gun at the skills competition…
Greatest shot from the point is Sami Salo.
Greatest shot ever is Elias Petterson.
Also, let’s not forget Jyrki Lumme.
There are probably still a few pucks sitting on top of the old jumbotron at the Pacific Coliseum.
Ivan Hlinka has to be in the conversation.
Fun to revisit some of these names and fun to read the comments, even the ones by posters I usually skip. If by best it’s a combination of speed and accuracy, for me, it’s Naslund. Fabulous wrister. Maybe Petterson will match or surpass his stats over time. As for D Sedin, he had accuracy but mostly smarts — never shot harder than he had to and was very precise. No defenceman deserves to be on this list, including Salo — just too inconsistent.
Joe in Vancouver:
Tiger Williams had a very good shot.
Igor Larionov was lethal when he chose to shoot.
Bure’s puck wizardry was overshadowed by his explosive speed. He could intercept a pass, settle the puck, and read the goalie while accelerating through center. He’d enter the zone with nobody around him and startle goalies with one of the best wristers in any era. The wrist shot comparisons were with Howe!
“Best shot” without further definition is leaving some voting for the hardest slap shot and others looking at accuracy, releas,e and speed on mostly closer-in shots. I’m in the latter camp.
I can think of four good contestants: Mogilny, Naslund, Daniel, and EP40. Sorry to say my memory of them isn’t good enough to be very objective, so I’ll go with Daniel, the one whose accuracy and quick release subjectively impressed me the most.
FV Fan:
Off the board and go with Bobby Schmautz ( snapshot).
Rather incredible in his day. I also remember a fellow named Ivan Hlinka who came here with Jiri Bubla.
Had an incredible wrist shot for the time. Perhaps best in the league.
Shawn Antoski ?
As others have said, I think it has to be Salo.
Bure was a prolific goal scorer, but more known for his dekes than his shot.
Daniel was a prolific scorer, but usually scored off of slap-passes from his brother Henrik.
Petterson is an amazing scorer, but his story is still being told.
Salo had an amazing slapshot, but he was reluctant to use it and missed the net as often as he hit it. He feared injuring other players.
For my money, Markus Naslund is/was the most pure shooter in Canucks history. His wrist shot was lethal and feared by every team in the league.
Markus Naslund had the best shot in Canucks history.
I think it’s Elias Pettersson. The power and precision are impressive. He literally gets upset if he doesn’t score every time he shoots it.
52 years on….and on…:
Bure had 254 goals in only 428 games, which makes him the most effective shooter, if not possessing the best shot.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
For hardest shot, I am going with an off the board choice of Jiri Slegr. The mulleted Czech defenseman possessed a heavy and wildly inaccurate shot that was as likely to score as it was to cause injury.
BeerCan Boyd:
Adrian Aucoin has to be considered here. 23 goals from a d-man on a terrible Canucks team in ‘98/’99. Salo had 14 one year, but that’s the closest anyone has come since, to the best of my recollection. The huge blast from the point has been a disappearing weapon in the NHL, but it’s a great way to get forwards thinking twice about getting in the shooting lanes. IMO, Hughes would do well to be shooting 300 pucks a day all summer.
You guys are all crazy.
It’s Jiri Slegr … watch your head!
Alex G:
Having the best shot in hockey is largely about actually putting the puck in the net from a variety of places in a variety of ways consistently with accuracy. It’s not so much about tip-ins and rebounds, or possessing the hardest shot.
IMO, Alex Mogilny has/had the best shot in Canucks’ franchise history. During his time as a Canuck during the height of the “dead puck era” (312 games from 1995-2000), he amassed a shooting % of 17.0% on 820 shots. That ranks first in SH% among all NHL players (min. 200 games, 500 shots) during that same span. No other Canucks player in franchise history has stood above his NHL peers like that for shooting prowess over a sustained period.
He could score in almost any way from almost anywhere in the offensive zone. He possessed a very accurate wrist shot, was great at one-timers, and could pinpoint a hard slapper with impressive placement.
Pettersson, who also has great wrist and slap shots, as well as terrific one timers, may one day pass Mogilny. He possesses a SH% of 16.6% in a very similar # of games and shots, but keep in mind league scoring is up about 10% since the dead puck era.
Uncle Jeffy:
I’m surprised no one has mentioned Mogilny, unless I missed it. I would have forgotten about him if not for the recent Hall of Fame snub articles all over the place, but now that I think about it, I recall he could snap or slap shots with accuracy and minimal warning. As a life-long goalie (albeit lowest div beer league, now semi-retired) I always found quick and deceptive releases way way harder to stop than a big blast with a long lead up that I could read. Yes, beer league is not NHL, but the concept is valid.
And the number of goals Mogilny racked up is testimony to the effectiveness of his shot.
I’m a bit of an old school defender myself, so I go with Salo. I love those blasts from the point and it seems like a lost art now that everyone has those darn composite sticks that break when you lean into them like that.
Salo had accuracy from the point and put fear in the hearts of shot-blockers and it was exciting to see the puck on his stick on a power play.
On a more humorous non-serious note…honorable mention to Lee Sweatt. I only remember him taking one shot, but it was a beauty.

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