Luke Hughes already among top prospects for 2021 NHL draft
Luke Hughes, the youngest of the hockey brothers, is committed to playing at Michigan in 2021-22.
It’s been less than a month since the 2020 NHL draft, but already speculation has started about who will be the top-rated players for the 2021 draft, whenever it happens.
Three of the names being talked about have connections to the University of Michigan.
Two are part of what most experts agree is the top recruiting class for incoming freshmen this season – defenseman Owen Power and center Kent Johnson.
But it’s the third name that’s most recognizable, even though he won’t be playing in Yost Arena until 2021-22. He’s defenseman Luke Hughes, the youngest brother of Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes, who was the seventh overall pick in 2018, and New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes, who was the first overall pick in 2019.
The 17-year-old Luke, who is 5-11 and 162 pounds, currently plays with the National Team Development Program’s Under-18 team. Before that he was with the Little Caesars AAA organization. He has already committed to Michigan, where his oldest brother Quinn played before turning pro.
“If anyone could end up benefiting from the quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s Luke,” former NTDP U-17 coach John Wroblewski told NHL.com. “His body composition has taken off without the rigors of travel and games. He’s going to be an extremely valuable two-way player.
“The great thing about Luke is that he won’t need to force offense. If he concentrates on shutting people down, the offensive opportunities will be there, and he has a very slick skill set to back it up.”
That skill set includes his skating, which, like that of his older brothers, is the strongest part of his game.
As for the other two draft contenders, Power, 17, is 6-4, 213 pounds and had 12 goals and 40 points in 45 games with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League last season.
“Power is a big defender who moves well for his size and looks to be a top-pairing defenseman moving forward,” said Greg Rajanen of NHL Central Scouting. “He’s poised with the puck with solid puck decisions.”
Johnson, 18 and 5-10, 159 pounds, led the British Columbia Hockey League with 41 goals, 60 assists, 101 points and 39 power-play points in 2019-20.
“He’s another highly skilled player, very elusive and creative with the puck,” said John Williams of NHL Central Scouting.
Former Red Wings defenseman Trevor Daley announced his retirement on Monday and that he will be joining the Pittsburgh Penguins’ front office.
Daley, 37, played the final three seasons of his career with Detroit. He played with the Penguins for two seasons, winning back-to-back Stanley Cups with them in 2016 and 2017.
He will be based in Pittsburgh and report directly to GM Jim Rutherford, assisting in player evaluations at the NHL and AHL levels.