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Boudreau says Canucks urged him to give star D Hughes a shot at centre

Quinn Hughes and Filip Hronek Canucks Quinn Hughes annd Filip Hronek - The Canadian Press

Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes is having a big season on the West Coast but according to his former coach, a member of the organization wanted to convert him into a centre. 

Bruce Boudreau, who was head coach of the Canucks from December 2021 to January 2023, revealed he was asked to put Hughes up front by an unnamed staff member but refused. 

“Somebody in that Vancouver organization tried to make me make Quinn Hughes a centre last year,” Boudreau said on NHL Network. 

Hughes has 11 goals and 51 points through 42 games this season and was named the Canucks’ representative for the All-Star Game in Toronto, his second time earning the honour. 

He is just the ninth defenceman in NHL history to record 50-plus points through their first 40 games of a season, joining Paul Coffey (eight times), Bobby Orr (six times), Erik Karlsson, John Carlson, Brian Leetch, Phil Housley, Al MacInnis and Denis Potvin to accomplish that feat. 

Prior to the season, the 24-year-old was named captain of the Canucks, succeeding Bo Horvat who was dealt to the New York Islanders last year. 

“I’m so happy I didn’t,” said Boudreau of his decision. “First of all, he probably would’ve not taken it very well and secondly, the year he’s having, a Norris Trophy kind of year, boy it’s quite a difference from him playing centre on that team.” 

The Canucks are second in the NHL with 59 points, one back of the Winnipeg Jets with a 28-11-3 record. The team has missed the playoffs three years in a row and has just one playoff appearance in the last eight seasons.