Current Team: University of Michigan (NCAA - Big Ten)
Date of Birth: October 14, 1999
Birthplace: Orlando, Florida
37 GP/ 5 G/ 24 A/ 29 P/ 26 PIM
Just three years ago, Zach Werenski wowed the hockey world as a young freshman at the University of Michigan. The Columbus Blue Jackets selected him at #8 in the 2015 NHL Draft, and the rest is history.
Following in the steps of Werenski as well as players like Jack Johnson and Jacob Trouba, Quinn Hughes will likely be the next Wolverine defenseman to be selected near the top of the draft.
He’s also another great American defenseman, with lots of Team USA experience already. He came up through the US National Team Development Program, and competed this year in both the World Juniors and this month’s World Championships. Playing with and against NHLers, Hughes earned praise from the likes of Patrick Kane and Dylan Larkin for his skating, positioning, and passing ability.
An elite defensive talent that has mastered the elements of speed and decision-making. He is calculated in his handling of the puck and well-versed in his ability to limit time and space for the opposition without the puck. It’s almost taken for granted, now, that he is a highly skilled offensive player, simply due to his individual ability to carry plays and outfox the opposition in their own end. His creativity and vision is what sets him apart from many other defenders, and he plays that exciting style of hockey that punishes opponents’ mistakes with immediacy. It’s his proactivity through the neutral zone, not just limiting the time and space for the opposition but limiting their options to move the puck up-ice every time he’s on a shift, that makes him so potent. All-in-all, a complete defenceman that understands how to open up a game and take it over. - Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects
Hughes is on the older side of this draft class as well, but he has done nothing since the beginning of the year that has made me question his status as the second-best defenceman in the class. He’s all the things you like about an on-the-small side offensive defenceman. He can cleanly create exits and entries with his feet and outlet passes, he’s patient but plays fast, and he does an excellent job using his footwork to open up lanes on net or down low from the blueline, which will allow him to play on an aggressive power play in the NHL. But he’s also not any of the things you worry about with smaller defensemen. In spite of his size, he’s one of the better man-on-man defenders in the class, plays a tight gap and does a wonderful job disrupting the rush without having to play an overtly physical game. I suspect after another year of college he’ll be NHL ready, too. - Scott Wheeler, The Athletic
Featuring his younger brother Jack, a probable top pick in 2019: