Suspend your sense of reality, just for a few moments, as the Hughes brothers dominate here at the World Junior Showcase.
Now, let’s go back to 1999, when then Canucks general manager Brian Burke made the impossible happen in Vancouver.
It was one of the all-time great trading feats, as Burke — who already held the third overall pick — secured the No. 4 pick from Chicago for defenceman Bryan McCabe and a first-rounder the next year. He then flipped the pick to Tampa along with two third-round picks for No. 1 overall. Then he traded No. 1 to Atlanta for No. 2, for a conditional third and a promise by the Atlanta Thrashers to draft Patrik Stefan.
Or anyone other than his two targets: Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
“We didn’t really think it was going to happen,” Henrik told me back in 2011. “Even though we were in Sweden, we knew what the draft was about and what needed to happen for us to be picked together. We didn’t really think they would be able to pull it off.”
Today, the Vancouver Canucks already have defenceman Quinn Hughes in their stable, having drafted him this past June. His younger brother Jack will play in the World Junior Championships — held this Christmas in Vancouver and Victoria — as a 17-year-old.
Quinn has been the dominant player at this World Junior Showcase, a defenceman with the smooth stride and puck-moving skills that will likely make him a National Hockey League star one day. Jack is a forward who is good with the puck, playing in traffic with a heavy shot he gets away in the blink of an eye. He’s playing above his age group here and is one of the better players, a 17-year-old among 18- and 19-year-olds.