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First-round pick Hughes gives the Canucks a reason to get excited

Tantalizingly talented, Quinn Hughes brings an abundant skill set, stellar skating and hockey bloodlines.

Quinn Hughes is very much a product of the pro hockey lifestyle, even though he’s still an unsigned college kid. As the eldest son of former coach and NHL exec Jim Hughes, Quinn has already moved around a lot. He was born in Orlando, spent summers in New Hampshire, lived his formative hockey years in Toronto and lately has been raising eyebrows in Michigan – first with the U.S. National Team Development Program and last year with the University of Michigan. So where is home for the 2018 first-rounder? “I’d probably say Michigan a little bit more now,” Hughes said. “This will be my fourth year there. I have more friends there now, but obviously there are also a lot of special people in Toronto, too, which is why we come down in the summer. I can go back and forth, but Michigan is starting to become home.”

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Based on his pedigree, it won’t be home for long. Hughes is a gifted offensive defenseman with incredible mobility and puck skills. He earned a spot on the U.S.’s World Championship team last spring and will be a key member of Team USA at the 2019 world juniors. Last year he helped the U.S. win bronze at the event, but this time the spotlight will be searing: Vancouver hosts the tournament, and Quinn will likely be joined by younger brother Jack Hughes, the dynamic center slated to go first overall in the 2019 draft. The two got to suit up together for the Americans this summer at the World Junior Summer Showcase in Kelowna, B.C., and Quinn would very much like a repeat engagement for the real thing. “It was fun,” he said. “I don’t really get to play with Jack too much. We did well, and hopefully we can do it again in December.”

Hughes also has hardware on his mind in the NCAA, where his Wolverines are coming off a surprise run to the Frozen Four that ended with a semifinal loss to Notre Dame. “I want to win a national championship,” he said. “We were really close last year. Going into the year, we weren’t supposed to do that well and we overachieved, but this year we have a really good team, and I’m excited about that.”

When it comes to Hughes, excitement tends to follow wherever he goes.

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This story appears in the Prospects Unlimited 2018 issue of The Hockey News magazine.

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