Hughes family tree: USA defenseman Luke Hughes following in footsteps of brothers Quinn, Jack at World Juniors
You have to go back before the 2015-16 season to find the last time a Hughes brother wasn’t wearing the red, white and blue.
Whether it has been with the United States National Team Development Program, at the U18 Worlds or in the World Juniors, one of Quinn, Jack or Luke has been on Team USA. The trio of brothers have become an integral part of USA hockey and are leading the way for young Americans with dreams of playing in the NHL.
The 2023 World Juniors will be the last time a Hughes brother will be playing at the junior level for the United States. Luke, a Devils draft pick and current sophomore at the University of Michigan, is in his final year of eligibility for the tournament and looks to lead the way for the U.S.
At the 2022 tournament, the smooth-skater defenseman became the first of the trio to score a goal at the World Juniors.
Luke Hughes scores the USA’s first goal of the tournament!#WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/Z2vXXFDc63
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) August 10, 2022
All three were selected in the top seven of their respective drafts, with Jack owning the bragging rights for being picked highest. He was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2019 NHL Draft. He and Luke are part of the Devils’ organization. Luke shares the honor of playing for the University of Michigan with Quinn.
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As U.S. fans get set to watch the last World Juniors featuring one of the Hughes brothers, perhaps by the end of the tournament, Luke will have another honor that neither of his kin was able to achieve — win World Juniors gold.
Hughes family tree
The eldest Hughes sibling began his career with the United States National Team Development Program in 2015. He spent two seasons with the program before heading to the University of Michigan. As a freshman, he set a school record for a defenseman with 24 assists. For his efforts, he was named to the All-Big Ten freshman team and the All-Big Ten second team.
After that sensational season, the Canucks selected Hughes as the seventh overall pick in the 2018 draft. He returned to the Wolverines for one more season before joining the Canucks at the end of the 2018-19 season. He has now played three full seasons with Vancouver.
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Quinn was initially touted as an offense-first defenseman, and while he still excels in the passing game, his defense has evolved. He has learned to use his stick and positioning to break up plays and has become a strong, two-way defender in the NHL despite his size (5-10, 181 pounds).
The middle brother is the lone Hughes sibling to not play college hockey. He played two years with the national program, where he almost broke Auston Matthews’ single-season points record during the 2017-18 season. He followed that up by breaking the USNTDP career points record, smashing Clayton Keller’s mark of 189 by posting 228.
Hughes was taken with the first pick in the 2019 draft and made an immediate jump to the NHL. He struggled in his rookie season, with just seven goals and 14 assists in 61 games. He followed that with a 31-point performance in 56 games during the 2020-21 campaign. In 2021-22, he showcased his offensive ability, albeit in a smaller sample size: 56 points in 49 games. He missed games in the fall with a shoulder injury and then suffered a season-ending knee injury in April.
Hughes has been a budding superstar for the Devils. He’s been a big reason for the surprise success of the Devils this season, who lead the Metro Division.
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The Devils center has shown an ability to take over a game and he looks exactly like what a No. 1 pick should be. He has extremely slick hands, which allows him to put defenders in a blender and make his way around goaltenders. Hughes is only 21, and he’s only going to get better.
The youngest Hughes brother followed in Quinn and Jack’s footsteps by playing for the national program at the U17 and U18 levels before jumping to the NCAA. Prior to his freshman season at Michigan, the Devils selected him with the No. 4 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.
He enjoyed a sensational freshman season in Ann Arbor. He led all NCAA defensemen with 17 goals finishing third on the team. His 39 points were also third on the team. He earned Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Year, Big Ten All-Freshman and second-team All-Big Ten honors.
Hughes is an offense-first defenseman who excels with the puck on his stick on the rush. He was the USA’s top defender at the summer tournament and should once again play top minutes for the Americans at the 2023 World Juniors.