OHL Prospect Profile: Luke Hughes
– Luke Hughes –
Little Caesars U15 (T1EHL) | Defence | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible
Manchester, NH| Sept. 9th, 2003 | 5-foot-10, 145-pounds
Although the odds that Luke Hughes will play in the Ontario Hockey League aren’t high given his commitment to the University of Michigan, it goes without saying that Hughes is one of the 2019 OHL Priority Selection’s most promising defenders.
A smooth-skating defenceman whose game is remarkably similar to that of older brother Quinn Hughes, the youngest Hughes is a dynamic playmaker who can generate offence while playing a sound role in his defensive zone. Highly regarded for his exceptional two-way play and considerable upside, Hughes could be one of the first defencemen selected in the 2019 OHL Draft should he choose to pursue a major-junior career.
- Playmaking Ability
- On-Ice Vision
- Skating and Agility
- Positional Awareness
Much like his older brothers, Hughes is a stellar playmaker who can generate offensive opportunities for his team in the blink of an eye. Calm and poised while in possession of the puck and rarely pressured into committing turnovers, Hughes processes the play before him extremely well and can distribute the puck to his teammates with little issue.
Related: 2019 OHL Draft Rankings
It is this confidence which allows Hughes to play such an integral role within his team’s offensive attack. As a fluid skater who features impressive edge-work and lateral mobility, Hughes can walk his opponents’ blue line while controlling the puck — maintaining a view of the play and able to pass or shoot the puck once an opportunity arises.
Related: 2019 OHL Prospect Profiles
However, Hughes is much more than a dominant offensive player, as his ability to read and react to developing plays before they transpire allows him to stand one step ahead of his competition. In addition, Hughes utilizes his strong skating abilities in the defensive zone — moving his feet quickly in order to pin and dispossess attacking forwards with relative ease.
Areas of Improvement:
- Overall Strength
- Shot Power and Penetration
Although Hughes’ overall game is incredibly strong and indicative of his family’s bloodlines, areas for improvement do exist.
Like the majority of players of his age, Hughes will need to work to add greater strength to his 5-foot-10 frame in the years ahead. While he is strong on the puck and capable of ensuring possession in the face of ferocious fore-checks, greater strength — particularly in his lower body — will allow Hughes to fend off his attackers with greater ease while amplifying his explosive first step in the process.
One other area of improvement which also relates directly to Hughes’ overall physical strength is the youngster’s shot power and its ability to penetrate traffic en route to the net. Once he adds greater muscle to his frame, Hughes shot will surely feature a quicker release as well as greater velocity to boot. Once this day comes, Hughes will stand as a versatile threat given his ability to both pass and shoot the puck from the point.
Given his lethal two-way abilities, confidence, and maturity while in possession of the puck, it is safe to say that Hughes has all the makings of a top-pairing defenceman at the next-level — wherever that may be.
Related: Jack Hughes – The Next Patrick Kane?
Once of greater size and strength, Hughes will become an even more reliable and versatile force capable of leading his team at both ends of the ice — much like both of his older brothers. So, regardless of whether Hughes plays in the OHL, USHL, or joins the U.S. National Team Development Program next year, it is abundantly clear that the youngest Hughes has a highly promising future ahead of himself.