Welcome to the NHL, Quinn Hughes.
Vancouver’s highly touted defensive prospect has signed a three-year entry level contract with the Canucks.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) March 10, 2019
The 19-year-old recently finished his second collegiate season with the University of Michigan, where he led the team in scoring with 33 points in 32 games. He had five goals and 29 points in 37 games in his rookie campaign.
According to the release, Hughes will travel to Vancouver on Tuesday. He will wear his no. 43 with the Canucks.
Hughes has been turning heads ever since he was drafted by the Canucks seventh overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. The Florida native is an excellent skater with elite defensive talent who can control play on the backend.
Hughes earned a gold medal with the U.S. national team at the 2017 IIHF U18 World Championship and represented his country at the World Juniors in 2018 and 2019. He was an assistant captain of the USA team that won silver this year in Vancouver and Victoria, BC.
GM Jim Benning spoke very highly of the 5-10, 170-pound defenceman in a statement.
“Quinn is an exceptional skater, strong on the puck and plays with creativity and vision,” said Benning. “He was a leader on his team at the University of Michigan and has had success at the international level. We’re excited for Quinn to join our team and continue to grow his game as a member of the Vancouver Canucks.”
Here’s a tribute to Hughes from the University of Michigan:
— Michigan Hockey (@umichhockey) March 11, 2019
It’s unclear as of now when Hughes will make his NHL debut for the Canucks. The blueliner injured his foot blocking a shot Friday against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in a Big Ten best-of-three quarterfinal series. Hughes didn’t play in overtime of the loss and went for X-rays to determine his playing status for Saturday. Wolverines coach Mel Pearson said the injury wasn’t serious and it was later revealed that there was no fracture. Hughes reportedly suffered a bruise but was still able to suit up in that series-ending loss on Saturday.
According to John Shannon, Hughes will have a physical on Tuesday in Vancouver and will have a scan on that ankle he injured Friday to see how bad the injury is. It’s still possible he makes his debut when the Canucks return to action against the Rangers on Wednesday at Rogers Arena.
The arrival of Hughes comes at a trying time for the Canucks. The team has fallen out of the playoff picture with eight losses in their last 10 games. Erik Gudbranson was traded to Pittsburgh and Chris Tanev is currently sidelined with an ankle injury, opening the door for Hughes to get some valuable experience at the professional level down the stretch.
Because he turns 20 this calendar year, Hughes burns one year of his entry-level contract in the first game he plays. Hughes can play 9 games before it counts under the CBA as a pro year of experience. If he plays 10 games this season, it would make him eligible for selection in the 2021 Seattle Expansion Draft and the Canucks would be forced to protect him.