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Hughes, Pettersson ready for leadership roles: 'It's something we have to do'

Jeff Vinnick / National Hockey League / Getty

With former captain Bo Horvat on to greener pastures, incumbent Vancouver Canucks stars Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson are eager to grow into leaders as the franchise embarks in a new direction.

Both players will wear "A's" from here on out, and the responsibility isn't something they plan to take lightly.

"I've always not been the loudest guy," Hughes told Sportsnet's Iain MacIntyre. "I'm always respectful of guys that have been in the league a lot longer than me and they've seen so much more. But at the same time, me and Petey are good players and we have to do those things or the team's just going to stay the same. I feel like it's something that we have to do.

"But me and (general manager) Patrik (Allvin) have talked prior to that about trying to evolve as a person and as a player and teammate and leader in the group, and trying to elevate the group from within. I think that's me and Petey's job, and to keep getting better ourselves in every aspect of our life."

Horvat was named Canucks captain in 2019. He was dealt to the New York Islanders last week and subsequently signed an eight-year extension.

At All-Star weekend, Horvat said if he could choose Vancouver's next captain, Pettersson would be his successor.

"I think me and Quinn, we want more," Pettersson said. "First off, we focus on hockey and playing well, but of course it's good to grow into a leader. Lead by example or set a standard, show how it should be done."

The Canucks drafted Pettersson (fifth overall) and Hughes (seventh overall) in 2017 and 2018. The two have become cornerstone players since then, but Vancouver has only reached the playoffs once during their tenures.

Now that Horvat's gone, Pettersson and Hughes are the Canucks' top two scorers this season with 58 and 45 points, respectively.

Hughes, Pettersson ready for leadership roles: 'It's something we have to do'
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