The Bo Horvat blockbuster trade has left the Vancouver Canucks without a captain. Being without a captain isn’t a total rarity in the NHL, at least in recent years. However, the trade has led to a bit of a restructuring of the player leadership group in Vancouver.
Forward Elias Pettersson and defenseman Quinn Hughes are now alternate captains, head coach Rick Tocchet confirmed on Sunday. Those two join forward J.T. Miller and defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson with A’s on their sweaters.
Both players were obvious choices for the Canucks. Tocchet and general manager Patrik Allvin have hinted recently the captaincy could go to either Hughes or Pettersson.
For what it’s worth, Pettersson received a ringing endorsement during NHL All-Star Weekend. Horvat revealed he would vote for his 24-year-old former teammate to replace his status as captain.
Pettersson is a former fifth-overall pick of the Canucks in 2017. The Swede has developed into a true star in the league, scoring 118 goals and 279 points in 292 career games thus far.
Hughes, meanwhile, is a former sixth overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. The former Michigan Wolverine has become one of the best young defensemen in the league. His brothers Jack and Luke Hughes are with the New Jersey Devils organization.
Miller and Ekman-Larsson have had the A on their sweaters since last season. Miller joined the Canucks in 2019 and was almost traded to the Islanders himself at the 2022 NHL Draft.
Ekman-Larsson joined the Canucks in the summer of 2021. He began his career with the Arizona Coyotes, spending 11 years with them before his trade to Vancouver before the 2021 NHL Draft.