Vancouver Canucks superstar Quinn Hughes is in the midst of the best season by a defenseman in franchise history — and he put the exclamation mark on a true Norris Trophy campaign in a 4-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday.

The 24-year-old scored a goal and added an assist in the first period, in the process joining the two best D-men in league history as the only three players who have recorded 200 or more assists in a three-year span.

The other two players? Paul Coffey and Bobby Orr.

It's truly been an otherworldly campaign for Hughes, who was named captain of the Canucks before the season and has clearly taken that responsibility incredibly seriously. The young American is now at 17 goals and a ridiculous 88 points in 78 games, good for second in team scoring.

Hughes also holds the all-time record for points by a defenseman in a single season, breaking the record he set after amassing 76 in 2022-23.

Canucks' Quinn Hughes deserves the Norris Trophy

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (43) celebrates his goal against the Vegas Golden Knights in the first period at Rogers Arena.
Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Although Colorado Avalanche's Cale Makar and Nashville Predators' Roman Josi have had fantastic campaigns in 2023-24, the Norris Trophy as the league's best blue liner looks to be Hughes' to lose.

“Quinn Hughes has taken his game to new levels this year and at this point, it often feels as if he’s toying with his opponents as he swiftly navigates around the ice,” wrote Dave Hall of Canucks Army on Monday.

And here's what The Athletic's Harman Dayal said about a potential Hughes vs. Makar race for the Norris Trophy.

“Makar has more goals, you give him that, but Hughes has been the better play driver with his all-around impact,” Dayal asserted. “Put it this way: Makar hasn’t been the best player on his own team. MacKinnon has by far been the engine of that Avs team, but Hughes is to the Canucks what MacKinnon is to the Avs this year.”

Hughes has been the driving force of his team's success this season, and he'll need to be incredible in the playoffs if the Canucks hope to come out of the Western Conference for the first time since 2011.

He has the most points by a defenseman, has been electric at both ends of the rink all year long, and has helped the Canucks vault to the top of the Western Conference with less than two weeks left in the regular-season.

He has a great case for the Norris Trophy, and whether or not he wins it in 2024, he's putting together one of the best seasons by a defenseman in recent memory.

Hughes leading Canucks into 1st postseason in 4 years

The Nucks haven't made the playoffs since the COVID-shortened year in 2020, and haven't played a postseason game in front of the home crowd at Rogers Arena since 2015.

With Hughes at the forefront of the leadership group, Vancouver's core has flourished throughout the campaign. JT Miller just hit 100 points for the first time in his career, Brock Boeser is a 40-goal scorer, and Elias Pettersson is on pace for his second consecutive 90-point campaign.

The West is a gauntlet, and there will be no easy matchups. But the Canucks have had a fantastic season, and led by Quinn Hughes, they'll be ready for a Round 1 matchup come April 20.