COHEN: Which Hughes will have the biggest impact in his rookie season?
Quinn Hughes is ready to make his NHL debut but he’s getting a chance to play in the tail end of the NHL season with the team that drafted him, the Vancouver Canucks. Quinn was drafted 7th overall in 2018. There’s no chance that Jack drops that far so he’ll have the highest drafted family member bragging rights, but Quinn has age (19) and now NHL experience on his side.
Jack is still 17 until May. Both brothers are elite skaters. I’ve seen quite a bit of both, and I think this is a tie. They have all the same influences and even though Quinn is a defenseman and Jack is a center, I don’t think one has the edge over the other. Both are gifted in this area and that will be evident early on in their careers.
Who will score more points? Quinn will get plenty of chances to get a fair amount of points playing on the power play, presumably with Elias Pettersson Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser. He’ll get more ice time so the opportunity might be a bit greater than what his younger bro will get at the start.
Jack will likely play for a team that’s not as well put together with the man advantage. I doubt that he’ll start out on the top line so guessing that he’ll be a second line pivot, will still give him a lot of chances at even strength and on the top power play. I doubt he’ll be on power play two for any team. He’s such a good puck distributor that he can make any team better with the man advantage.
Jack is the better goal scorer. He’s a pass-first guy but he’s fully capable of putting the puck in the net. He will get a lot more chances around the net than Quinn will.
Quinn will pinch in like a forward once in a while and he has a great point shot but he’s not Shea Weber back there, so I don’t see him getting 20 goals at the position not in his first full season at the very least.
As far as helpers go this could be a very tight race. Both will get their fair share and even though they’ll do it in different ways it’ll all look the same way on the final scoresheet.
I think Jack will have the edge in points. I doubt he’ll get 15 more than his brother but I can see 40-50 for Quinn and 60ish for Jack.
The impact will still be measured a few other ways. Right now, Jack has the edge. Quinn will even things up defensively. Jack is a defensively responsible player, but Quinn is a master at puck retrieval. He will have a greater impact in that facet of the game. And that’s a bigger part of his job so this isn’t unexpected.
Both players won’t get a lot of short-handed shifts in their rookie seasons, but I think Jack might get some last-minute shifts in hopes of creating some offense. With the way that he skates, he could catch the other team out of position and get a stretch pass and he would be gone. That won’t happen a lot, but NHL teams do like to get fast players into the open ice.
Hockey sense may be the last point of measurement. Jack has everything run through him. He makes linemates better. Younger and older always talk about how smart he is and the way he sees little openings to flash a great pass to create a scoring chance. Not everyone has that. Usually, only the top players do. Well, he’s going to be one of them. Containing him is a battle and most defenseman fail in the end.
Quinn breaks down the other team before he gets down the ice. Even Jack isn’t able to do that at the speed his brother does. I believe he’ll be able to do this at the NHL level and if he does, considering the fact that he’s a defenseman, he will have a bigger impact on setting up plays. He may not get more points, but he will be the most important player touching the puck first for Vancouver on most shifts.
Both players are willing to block shots, but Quinn does it more regularly. As a matter of fact, he did that in his last college game for Michigan and the bone bruise delayed his NHL debut. He wanted to skate with the injury, but the Canucks got him fully checked out medically before they allowed him to. That was smart.
I think Quinn will have a bigger impact based on the position. I think Jack will be the better player over the course of his career, but I think that will take a bit more time until he’s more valuable than his older brother to his new team.