Round 2, Pick #51: JACK HUGHES

That's a good pick from the US NTDP, he was ranked 26th in North American skaters in CSB rankings.

Good along the boards, can win faceoffs, possibly good 3rd line center one day.
From the Athletic

47. Jack Hughes, C, Northeastern (H-EAST)

Nov. 2, 2003 | 5′ 11.5″ | 170 pounds | Shoots left

Tier: Projected to play NHL games

Skating: Below NHL average
Puck skills: Above NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: NHL average

Background: Hughes played a significant role on Northeastern as a draft-eligible freshman. He was a top forward for the 2003 U.S. NTDP age group coming up, including being one of their top forwards at the World U17 Challenge. He’s the son of Canadiens GM Kent Hughes.

Analysis: Hughes is one of the more skilled and creative players in the draft. He has high-end puck skills and ability to improvise with the puck to create chances for himself and his teammates. He’s able to score goals but he’s a pass-first type player. Hughes lacks ideal speed for the NHL and the pace of higher levels will be his main test. He competes well enough. He won’t run guys over but he’s responsible off the puck and doesn’t shy from physical play. Hughes projects as a bottom-six forward.

Wheeler's final rankings
29. Jack Hughes — C, Northeastern University, six-feet

The youngest player in college hockey this season, Hughes’ Nov. 2003 birthday allowed him to play two years at the U.S. NTDP ahead of his draft class and jump right in with the Huskies in Hockey East, where he posted 16 points in 39 games to finish fourth among the 14 under-19 forwards who played in the NCAA this year (behind the 19 points all scored by Jets first-rounder Chaz Lucius, fellow 2022 draft eligible Jack Devine, and Lightning fourth-rounder Dylan Duke).

Hughes is a prospect I’ve liked whenever I’ve watched him play over the last three seasons. He makes his linemates better and does a great job manufacturing shots and chances for himself (which I’d insist he has always done even when his production skewed toward the assist column at the program). I see a diligent two-way centre who skates well enough (this quality is underrated by some, I’d argue), possesses excellent hands, has a great deal of poise and vision under pressure, and thrives as a distributor (especially finding backdoor options). He doesn’t have star power, but I won’t be surprised if he becomes a heady, playmaking pivot who knows where to be and how to use the ice in order to reach his middle-six upside in the NHL. I expect him to take a step and produce more as a sophomore. The skill is there.
Was hoping they’d take a flyer on Lane Hutson with this pick, or David Goyette as a backup option. Hopefully Hughes is a player, as he seemed to be high on the rankings charts by Pronman and Wheeler.

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