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Picking the Winners of the Vancouver Canucks Team Awards for 2023-24

The Vancouver Canucks have punched their ticket to the 2024 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and are looking to finish the 2023-24 regular season strong. The whole season has been a breath of fresh air for Canucks fans as the last decade has been a dark one. The players, of course, deserve a ton of credit and there are a few who have really impressed. Every season the Vancouver Canucks have team awards. One for team MVP, Most Exciting Player, Unsung Hero, and Best Defenceman. Fans vote on the awards and the winners are unveiled before the final home game of the regular season. Us at Last Word will give you our picks, will you agree or disagree? Fans can have their say and vote here until April 8th.

Vancouver Canucks Team Awards: MVP

The Cyclone Taylor Trophy goes to the team’s MVP. Three players make strong cases for this award.

The first is Quinn Hughes. Not only does he make a strong case for Canucks MVP, but for the Norris trophy as well. He leads all NHL defencemen with 86 points and that includes 16 goals. The Canucks captain has consistently been not only putting up points but has been excellent defensively as he often takes away the passing and shooting lanes and starts the counterattacks. Hughes’ skating just gets more elusive every game and you could practically call him an escape artist.

There is also J.T. Miller. Over a year ago, Miller was prone to giveaways and poor backchecks. Since current Head Coach Rick Tocchet took over in January of 2023, Miller has improved a lot defensively. This season, he has taken his game to a different level. Miller has 96 points including 35 goals and joins Pavel Bure, Markus Naslund, and Henrik Sedin as the only Canucks to have multiple seasons with at least 90 points. Miller has made his presence known every game by not only putting up points but with his hits and blocks as well. The 31-year-old has been the driver of the offence this season and proved that he is the heart of the team.

Thatcher Demko also deserves consideration for team MVP. Before his injury, he would make the saves when the Canucks needed him most. Even though he has been out since March 9, Demko is still in the top 10 among NHL goaltenders who have played 20 games in goals against average and save percentage. 

It’s a tough choice but our pick goes to Hughes. He’s been the engine of the Canucks all season and it is a scary thought if he goes out out of the lineup.

Most Exciting Player

There are plenty to choose from. Several Canucks players have brought fans out of their seats.

Demko has made highlight reel saves, Elias Pettersson did his dekes, and Conor Garland, Dakota Joshua, and Nils Höglander brought fans out of their seats with their grit, goals, and skating. Miller also deserves consideration for this award as he scored some nice goals and made some great passes as well.

But the Pavel Bure Most Exciting Player award is Hughes’ to lose. Every time he has the puck, he does something exciting, whether that is by keeping the puck at the blueline, using his agility to get around an opponent scoring or making a great pass.

Unsung Hero

This one is tough and can cause debates. The Fred J. Hume Award is the Canucks team award for an “unsung hero.” That is a player on the team that doesn’t deserve enough credit.

Joshua won last year’s award. He could win it again. It’s hard to see why not. His hits, feistiness, and goals have gone under the radar but one could argue that he has become a fan favourite and made himself ineligible for this award.

Garland and Höglander also make strong cases. If we look at 5 on 5 goals scored ranks on the Canucks, Höglander is first (23), and Garland is third (16) according to NaturalStatTrick. It is also worth noting that Garland is fourth on the team behind Miller, Hughes, and Pettersson at 5 on 5 points with 37. Höglander’s 5 on 5 goals put him in a three-way tie for ninth in the NHL with John-Jason Peterka of the Buffalo Sabres and Trevor Moore of the LA Kings. He has more 5 on 5 goals than Mikko Rantanen, William Nylander, Nikita Kucherov, Sidney Crosby, and even Connor McDavid. That’s pretty good.

There are cases to be made for Casey DeSmith who has been mostly a reliable backup this season especially since Demko got hurt. Nikita Zadorov and Noah Juulsen, have had their bad defensive moments but have proven they can be good defensively. Juulsen, in particular, has improved throughout the season and has silenced his critics.

One name to throw in the ring is Ian Cole. Cole has made smart defensive plays all season and has quietly been a solid defenceman for the Canucks. Sure, he’s had horrid games but when he is on his game, he is very reliable.

It’s tough to decide. So, let’s have fun and throw another name into the ring and that is Pius Suter. Suter has been a reliable bottom-six forward. He has been good defensively and has contributed offensively with 13 goals and 14 assists for 27 points. The Canucks have outscored opponents 21-10 at 5 on 5 when Suter is on the ice. He doesn’t get a lot of praise or credit for his efforts.

Best defenceman…is So Obvious

No doubt about who wins the Walter “Babe” Pratt Trophy for the best Canucks defenceman. It’s Hughes by a country mile. The reasons why have been said above. Who knows? Maybe one day after his career is over, they will name the best defenceman award after him.

Main photo: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports


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