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Three Canucks are tied for the NHL scoring lead

J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson, and Quinn Hughes are tied in the Art Ross race, but that's not the only stunning statistic from the Canucks' hot start.
Vancouver Canucks captain Quinn Hughes has good reason to smile: he's tied for the NHL lead in points with his teammates Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller.

If the NHL season ended today, the Vancouver Canucks would be in the running for a clean sweep of every major award.

Quinn Hughes is the frontrunner for the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenceman. Thatcher Demko has a strong case for the Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender. J.T. Miller is racking up points while playing in a match-up role against every opponent's top line, so is in line for the Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward. Elias Pettersson will have to fight Hughes for the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay as the most valuable/outstanding player but he would never do so because he's such a gentleman, so hand him the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct. 

And don't forget Rick Tocchet for the Jack Adams Award as the coach of the year and Patrik Allvin for the Jim Gregory Award for general manager of the year.

The only thing the Canucks are missing is a hotshot rookie eligible for the Calder Trophy but Vancouver's Connor Bedard can be an honourary Canuck at awards time.

Miller, Pettersson, and Hughes are at the top of Art Ross race

Then there are the awards that are just about the numbers: the Art Ross Trophy for the league's leading scorer and the Rocket Richard for the league's top goalscorer.

The Canucks have littered the leaderboards all season long but now, over a month into the season, they're all at the top.

J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson, and Quinn Hughes all have 26 points in 16 games, leading the NHL in scoring by a two-point margin over the Boston Bruins' David Pastrnak and New York Rangers' Artemi Panarin. 

It's one of those wild statistics that is nigh-impossible to verify but it certainly feels like this is unprecedented: three players from the same team not only leading the NHL in scoring over a month into the season but doing so while tied in points, let alone one of those three players being a defenceman. It's hard to avoid comparing Hughes to Paul Coffey, who was frequently near the top of the NHL scoring race with teammates Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux during the eighties.

If the Art Ross were awarded today, Miller would hold the first tiebreaker with ten goals to seven for Pettersson and six for Hughes. For the record, the second tiebreaker is the player with the fewest games played — the three Canucks are tied there — and then whichever player scored a goal first, which is pretty wild, as tiebreakers go. If it ever came down to that, Pettersson scored a goal before Miller or Hughes.

Hughes is, of course, at the top of the defenceman scoring race as well, five points clear of his Colorado Avalanche rival, Cale Makar. Hughes is on pace for 133 points, which would be the most by a defenceman since Coffey in the 1985-86 season when he was riding shotgun with Gretzky.

For those who care about plus/minus, Hughes leads the league in that statistic as well at plus-18. 

Boeser is tied for the lead in the Rocket Richard race

Amidst all of the wild statistics, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that Brock Boeser is tied for the league lead in goalscoring, putting him in the running for the Rocket Richard.

Boeser has 13 goals in 16 games, tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs' Auston Matthews and Winnipeg Jets' Kyle Connor for the league lead. That's a 67-goal pace over the course of an 82-game season. Oddly enough, unlike the Art Ross Trophy, there's no tiebreaker for the Rocket Richard; if the season ended today, Boeser would share the award with Matthews and Connor.

Keep in mind, Boeser is piling up these goals while playing in a match-up role on Miller's wing, facing some of the toughest competition in the NHL while piling up goals like he was playing shinny at the All-Star Game.

All Stars across the board

Speaking of, the Pacific Division representatives at the All-Star Game could just six Canucks, with no need for any other teams to send players.

How could the NHL choose between Pettersson, Miller, Boeser, Hughes, and Demko to send to the All-Star Game? And how could they leave off Filip Hronek, who who is third among NHL defencemen in scoring with 17 points in 16 games, with an 11-game point streak that ties the franchise record held by Dennis Kearns and Jiri Bubla.

Give them all nods for the end-of-year All-Star teams too. Pettersson and Miller are first and second-team All-Stars at centre, Boeser is a second-team All-Star at right wing, Hughes and Hronek are first and second-team All-Stars at defence, and Demko is a first-team All-Star in net.

Could the Canucks compete for the Presidents' Trophy?

The end result of all of this individual success, of course, has been team success.

The Canucks are tied with the defending Stanley Cup Champion Vegas Golden Knights at the top of the Western Conference with matching 12-3-1 records. They're just one point behind the Boston Bruins for the outright lead in the NHL. With both the Canucks and Golden Knights in action on Thursday night, the Canucks could conceivably be first in the race for the Presidents' Trophy to go with frontrunning for every other NHL award.

Is it too soon to hope for a Stanley Cup to match all the other hardware?


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