#1 – JACK HUGHES, C

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Jack Hughes Scouting Report

Potential:

  • Upside: Franchise Center
  • Floor: Top Line Playmaking Center
  • Comparable: Patrick Kane

Scouting Report:

This is my scouting report on U.S. NTDP center Jack Hughes. I think for a lot of people, the slam-dunk #1 prospect for this year’s draft is Jack Hughes but for me, it’s extremely close. I must admit that I flip-flopped on him during the year between #1 and #2 but that just speaks volumes to what Kaapo Kakko has done in the LIIGA. In the end, Hughes plays the more important position and his ability to make plays at high speed is what seals the deal for me but you can’t really go wrong either way.

Hughes is a phenomenal prospect that plays a puck possession game based on speed and skill. He’s extremely talented and has dominated every level of competition in his age group and as an underage player in various tournaments for years now. That’s usually a pretty telling sign that he is going to be a star player in the NHL. This past April, he broke Alexander Ovechkin’s record for most all-time points at the U18 tournament.

The only part of the Jack Hughes package that doesn’t thrill me is obviously his size. He will need to bulk up significantly in order to withstand the rigors of the NHL and while I do believe he can do that, at some point you have to wonder how much muscle he’ll be able to add to a bit of a slight frame. As we’ve seen this past season with Elias Pettersson, the NHL is a tough league and staying healthy is part of the deal. I have no other question marks with this player other than durability.

Summary:

Hughes has been a dominant player everywhere he’s played and even stood out as a 17 year old in the World Junior Championships (which is widely recognized as a “19 year old’s tournament”), that’s something that very few prospects over the past 20 years can say. I have no doubt that he’s going to be an excellent NHL player, likely from day 1. Out of the gate, he’s already going to be in the Top 10 in the NHL in terms of fastest skaters with the puck. That’s just a tremendous advantage and then he’s got the rest of the package to go with that in terms of understanding the game and making plays with the puck. In the end, I’ll be pretty surprised if he isn’t the 1st overall pick in this year’s draft.

Comparable:

My comparable for Jack Hughes is Patrick Kane even though one is a center and the other is a winger. They are similar in build and stature and both have elite hockey IQ that sets them apart from the competition. I find that they are both fantastic skaters that play the same type of puck control game.

Other Rankings:

  • TSN – #1
  • Central Scouting – #1 NAS
  • ISS – #1
  • Future Considerations – #1
  • McKeens – #1
  • THN – #1
  • Craig Button – #1
  • Hockey Prospect – #1

REFERENCE via HF BOARDS

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