The Vancouver Canucks announced they have signed 2018 first-round pick Quinn Hughes to a three-year entry-level contract. The team’s seventh-overall pick, who just completed his sophomore season at the University of Michigan, is expected to take his physical in Vancouver on Tuesday with a slim possibility that he could play Wednesday against the New York Rangers, according to Sportsnet’s John Shannon.
“Quinn is an exceptional skater, strong on the puck and plays with creativity and vision,” said Vancouver general manager Jim Benning. “He was a leader on his team at the University of Michigan and has had success at the international level. We’re excited for Quinn to join our team and continue to grow his game as a member of the Vancouver Canucks.”
Hughes is considered to be one of the top elite prospects in the NHL as the smooth-skating defenseman is considered to be a solid two-way player, who could walk in and immediately quarterback the team’s top power-play unit. Hughes scored five goals and 33 points in 32 games for Michigan this year, a slight improvement from the five goals and 29 points he tallied as a freshman last year in 37 games.
Before a determination is made regarding how quickly Hughes can join the Canucks defense, Shannon reports the team will scan Hughes’ foot which he injured Friday in the first game of the Big 10 playoffs. While he played in Saturday’s game, many felt that it impaired his play. The team may opt to wait for his debut until he’s fully healthy. The team also might want to avoid playing him more than 10 games this season as that would force Vancouver to protect him in the upcoming 2021 expansion draft for the Seattle franchise.
CapFriendly points out that although Hughes is only 19, he’s classified as signing his entry-level deal at 20. As a result, he will burn the first year of his entry-level deal this season regardless of how many games he gets into down the stretch.
While Vancouver is out of the playoff race, this stretch of games will still allow Hughes to get acclimated to playing at the NHL level which should come in handy as he makes a run at a full-time roster spot next season.