Hockey phenom Jack Hughes living the dream with Team USA at Worlds
Jack Hughes on playing with his brother at World Jr. Championship: “It’s obviously really cool and something I won’t take for granted.”
Jack Hughes is living a dream that few 17-year-old hockey players could imagine.
Hughes, a center with the National Team Development Program, already is the consensus No. 1 pick of the 2019 NHL draft in June. Now he’s representing his country in the World Junior Championship Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia.
He’ll be teammates with older brother Quinn, a Michigan sophomore defenseman who was the seventh overall pick, taken by the Vancouver Canucks, in last June’s NHL draft.
“It’s unbelievable,” Jack told www.heraldnet.com. “(It’s) kind of just a dream come true being able to wear a USA jersey with him (Quinn), especially at the World Junior stage. … It’s obviously really cool and something I won’t take for granted.”
Both are participating in the USA Hockey selection camp in Everett, WA. Quinn, 19, played for Team USA in last year’s WJC.
The brothers were on opposite teams during a scrimmage on Monday.
“I thought (Jack) was really good out there,” Quinn Hughes told NHL.com. “I know he's trying to get going. This is the hardest part of the camp – getting to know everyone and getting a feel for everyone's game. Everyone is excited to start playing some games, so the scrimmage was fun.”
Jack, 5-10 and 168 pounds, is having the kind of season everyone thought he would with 10 goals and 38 assists for 48 points in 25 games.
“We’re talking about a special talent here,” Kris Draper, assistant to Red Wings GM Ken Holland told the Detroit News. “Hockey sense, skating, competing, the way he sees the game, the vision that he has. It’s kind of the direction the new NHL is going, with the game of puck possession and speed and making plays at high speed.”
The Red Wings, like every other NHL team, would love the opportunity to draft Hughes with the first overall pick. And it appears Detroit will miss the playoffs this season and be one of the 15 teams in the lottery for the No. 1 pick. The team with the worst record has an 18 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick with each team in a progressively higher spot in the standings having a progressively worse percentage-wise chance of having the first pick.
“It would be pretty cool,” Jack Hughes told the Detroit News of playing for the Red Wings. “My family lives here (Plymouth), of course. But it’s the National Hockey League. All 31 places would, obviously, be a dream come true.
“But I’m really not too worried about that. I’m kind of just worried about my game and keep going to the draft, which is so far away.
“I feel like I have a lot of things I can improve. I feel like I just have to keep working at that, to improve my game.”
Other players of local interest who are members Team USA in the WJC are Quinn Hughes’ UM teammate forward Josh Norris (Oxford), defenseman and Northville native Jason Robertson (Niagara, OHL), Western Michigan defenseman Mattias Samuelsson and National Team Development Program goaltender Spencer Knight.
Red Wings prospects playing in the WJC are 2019 No. 6 overall pick, right wing Filip Zadina (Czech Republic); 2019 first-round pick (30th overall), center Joe Veleno Canada); defenseman Jared McIsaac (Canada, 2019 second round, 36th overall), and defenseman Malte Setkov (Denmark, 2019 fourth round,100th overall).