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America’s Emerging Phenom: Jack Hughes Is Tipped To Be Future NHL Star

"Avalanche vs Maple Leafs" (CC BY 2.0) by halseike

By Mike,

Jack Hughes, the 16-year-old from Orlando, Fla., is odds-on favorite to be picked number one overall in the 2019 NHL draft. The teenager possesses a rare combination of skills that include a gritty determination and exciting dynamism on the ice. His game is already so well-developed he’s head and shoulders above everyone else when it comes to 2019 NHL draft predictions.

Those who have seen him play recognize great skating ability and fast hands as well as a maturity beyond his years. In fact, he has a genuine skill at reading the game; his “hockey mind” ingrained courtesy of growing up within a family who all adore the spor

Those who have seen him play recognise great skating ability and fast hands as well as a maturity beyond his years. In fact, he has a genuine skill at reading the game; his “hockey mind” ingrained courtesy of growing up within a family who all adore the sport.

The Hughes hockey family dynasty is set to get a boost this year as older brother Quinn, a defenseman at the University of Michigan, is widely tipped to be picked up early in the 2018 NHL draft. The sons of Jim and Ellen Weinberg-Hughes, father Jim was a former pro coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he has also worked as a director of player development. Mother Ellen is adept at many sports, including hockey, and is a Hall of Fame athlete at the University of New Hampshire.

Jack has underlined his potential in recent months by breaking the under-17 National Team Development Program’s season scoring record. His current average of 1.92 points per game nearly doubles the records of Auston Matthews and Patrick Kane (a player he has been likened to) who were the last two 17-year-old Americans to go No.1 overall.


"Nashville Predators vs. St. Louis Blues" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by stephenyeargin

A diminutive figure compared to some at 5-foot-10, Hughes will undoubtedly bulk up over the next couple of years but his capacity to turn at speed, and to see plays and passing opportunities, has seen him described as a cross between Arizona Coyote’s Clayton Keller and the Chicago Blackhawks’ aforementioned Patrick Kane.

Called the most naturally gifted player available for the 2019 season, his performances with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program have got pro and college scouts purring. Indeed, the left-shooting center’s current scoring rate will see him eclipse all previous stars who have emerged from the program.

There’s no doubt Hughes, who is the youngest player on the United States 2018 team for the under-18 world championships, can make an impact wherever he ends up. Those placing bets right here on who they think will win this year’s Stanley Cup are probably already licking their lips about the potential of the teenage phenom lining up for their hometown team and probably leading them into play-off contention.

This year he’s played on the junior circuit against opponents up to 20 years of age and yet still managed to score at nearly two points per game, combining that with a number of assists. And, in February, when the Development Program team played in a tournament against the best players in Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic and Russia, he was widely acknowledged as one of the two or three best players on the ice.

The National Team Development Program has historically led young players to NHL success. But few have had the same level of interest as Jack Hughes who’s tipped to become one of hockey’s all-time stars.

 

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com