It is not simple having two of the league’s prime younger stars as brothers. Or on the flip aspect, possibly it is an important studying device.
That is precisely the distinctive scenario Luke Hughes is in. A defenseman out of the US Nationwide Workforce Improvement Program, Hughes is the ultimate of the three brothers to enter the NHL draft – and, no, he is not associated to the opposite Jack Hughes on the USNTDP.
Like all prospects, Hughes needed to take care of fairly the adversity with the pandemic placing a halt on group actions in early 2020. The U-18 World Hockey Championship wasn’t in a position to happen, and there was a very good likelihood that Hughes would have been in a position to symbolize the group at that degree for the primary time – an added bonus since he finally missed the 2021 occasion.
However the additional downtime allowed Luke to spend extra time together with his brothers – one thing that hasn’t been the case since Jack was chosen first total by New Jersey in 2019.
“I feel quarantine was unbelievable for me, simply hanging out with my brothers,” Luke mentioned. “Jack was at my home for 9 months. So, simply to spend time, and we most likely will not have that point collectively as a household ever once more, that was superior.”
All through the early days of the pandemic, Hughes stored up together with his ordinary coaching strategies previous to the return to the ice on Oct. 2, 2020 – nicely earlier than a lot of North America had caught up. Hughes, nonetheless, missed the ultimate few months of the season after surgical procedure to restore a foot tendon that was lacerated by a skate lower in March, placing a untimely finish to the highest prospect’s season as he was nonetheless preventing in direction of changing into the No. 1 decide in July.
The excellent news? It seems like he is all able to go.
“I have been skating for 5 weeks now and understanding for like eight or 9,” Hughes mentioned. “I really feel actually good. You realize, I am virtually 100% on my timing and completed rehab.”
Understandably, a ton of individuals have questioned whether or not or not the New Jersey Devils would take Hughes at No. 4. In Ryan Kennedy’s recent top 120 record for the draft, he had Hughes listed because the sixth-ranked participant, the place Detroit picks. Being from Michigan, Hughes would have the potential to turn into a star at house.
Would Luke desire to hitch his brother in New Jersey? If he does, he is not letting anybody know.
“I have been to the rink, I do know the franchise fairly nicely, Jack loves it in New Jersey,” Luke mentioned. That will be actually thrilling. However there are 32 nice groups on the market.”
As a defenseman, Luke has at all times been in comparison with Quinn by way of means, but it surely’s not precisely a good comparability. Quinn is a 5-foot-10 blueliner with high-end offensive ability, whereas Luke is a little more bodily at 6-foot-2 that weaponizes his skating to his benefit in a extra conducive means than Quinn. Luke’s offensive sport took an enormous step this season, albeit in an injury-shortened marketing campaign. Enjoying in Michigan ought to assist him unlock his offensive sport even additional with guys like Matty Beniers, Kent Johnsson, Owen Energy and others within the fray.
Shortly after July’s draft, Hughes might be amongst 44 U.S. gamers competing on the World Junior Summer Showcase, the summer time occasion USA Hockey makes use of to judge expertise for the 2022 World Junior Championship this December. No matter who selects Hughes, it is seemingly he’ll nonetheless go to the College of Michigan like Quinn did for an additional season of improvement. Luke was a bit youthful than Quinn was when he was chosen, however like Quinn, the added improvement time ought to be an enormous profit for Luke, particularly after lacking a lot time with an damage.
Come December, Hughes ought to have a robust shot at making USA’s World Junior group, seemingly in a top-four capability. By 2022-23, Hughes might be difficult for the same spot with an NHL group – and it is wanting like whichever franchise that’s will strike massive with the massive American defender.