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Did Red Wings Give NHL’s Most Productive Defense Pairing to Canucks?

Ex-Detroit defender Hronek as assists in seven straight games



Filip Hronek, Red Wings
Former Red Wings defenseman Filip Hronek is off to a blazing start with the Vancouver Canucks.

During his tenure as GM of the Detroit Red Wings, there haven’t many moves undertaken by Steve Yzerman that have led to serious uncertainty whether he didn’t get the best of the deal.

Early returns, though, are offering indications that the trade sending defenseman Filip Hronek to the Vancouver Canucks could be coming back to haunt the Red Wings.

Skating in a pairing with former Michigan Wolverines defender Quinn Hughes, this duo has been nothing short of dynamic.

Red Wings Could’ve Had Hughes

Through 12 games, Hughes – who was still on the board when Detroit was selecting Filip Zadina sixth overall in the 2018 NHL entry draft – is leading all NHL defenseman with 5-15-20 totals. Hronek is still seeking his first goal of the season. However, his 13 assists are good enough to place him fourth in NHL defensive scoring.

At that pace, Hughes would finish with 137 points. Hronek would end up with 89 points. They’d be outdoing the greatest 1-2 punch among blueliners in NHL history. During the 1974-75 season, Bobby Orr was accounting for 135 points for the Boston Bruins. Fellow Boston defenseman Carol Vadnais was collecting 74 points that season.

Certainly, no one was expecting this level of offensive explosiveness from the Hughes-Hronek pairing, including the Canucks. In fact, they weren’t even certain that pairing two puck-moving defenders like Hronek and Hughes together was even a wise move.

Hronek And Hughes Find Instant Chemistry

“To be honest with you, I wasn’t sure if there would be chemistry,” Canucks assistant coach and former NHL defenseman Adam Foote told “What I’ve seen, it’s mainly chemistry. They’re giving fits to the opposition.”

The two defenders have bonded into a mutual admiration society.

“I really enjoy playing with Hronek,” Hughes told Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre. “He’s really mobile. He can make some passes that other guys can’t. He can skate and defend the rush really well. He can just make plays that a lot of people can’t make.”

Hronek, who has assists in each of Vancouver’s last seven games, is finding that pairing with Hughes is making his life easier.

“He’s going to make plays and open up even more room for me,” Hronek said. “I know I’m going to get the puck from him and have time. It’s easy playing with him.”