Jack Hughes named USA Hockey Junior Player of the Year
Jack Hughes, a center for the National Team Development Program, is the USA Hockey Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year.
Hughes, the younger brother of University of Michigan defenseman Quinn Hughes, had 40 goals, 76 assists and 116 points in 60 games with the NTDP U-17 and U-18 teams this past season to break the NTDP season scoring record for a player in his Under-17 season.
He turned 17 in mid-May.
Hughes averaged 1.93 points per game. The last two NTDP players taken No. 1 in the NHL Draft were Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs (2016) and Patrick Kane (2007) of the Chicago Blackhawks. Matthews averaged 1.13 points-per-game in his Under-17 season and Kane 1.11, at the same age.
Hughes, 5-9 and 178 pounds, is the consensus early favorite to be the top overall pick for the 2019 NHL Draft.
“Jack is seeing things out that we’re not even seeing on tape,” NTDP coach John Wroblewski told ESPN The Magazine. “I can’t even envision what he’s seeing down there with how fast and efficient he gets around the sheet.”
An unnamed NHL scout said: “Jack is the most naturally gifted player I’ve seen for 2019. He’s got vision, hockey sense – just pure talent. It’s like he can do whatever he wants to do out there.”
Hughes will receive the award June 6-9 during USA Hockey’s Annual Congress in Colorado Springs.
Kane, who led Team USA to a bronze medal in the World Championships as captain and tournament MVP, is one of three Bob Johnson Award winners. Kevin Barnas of Manistique is the Adult Player of the Year. Also Laurel Young of Petoskey wins the Brian Fishman Intern Award and Rochester’s Matt Williams is the Brendan Burke Intern Award winner.