Quinn Hughes will make his NHL debut tonight at Rogers Arena, 279 days after being drafted by the Vancouver Canucks 7th overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
The 19-year-old defenceman from Florida, who was signed to a three-year entry-level contract on March 10th, took part in an optional game day skate Thursday, marking the third straight day he's skated with the Canucks and sixth consecutive day taking part in on-ice activities.
Hughes was injured blocking a shot in his first game of the Big10 Playoffs in early March and was in a walking boot for nearly two weeks. The bone bruise injury is now behind him and No. 43 will be patrolling the blueline in an NHL game for the first time tonight.
Video: PREGAME | Hughes vs. Kings
Hughes will become the 36th different skater to appear in the Canucks line-up this season, matching the most players to have done so in the past five years, according to Canucks PR.
There will be a learning curve for Hughes, who recently completed his second collegiate season with the NCAA's University of Michigan Wolverines, but Luke Schenn, veteran of 729 NHL games, is confident his defence partner will make a solid debut.
Hughes and Schenn will make up one of Vancouver's d-pairs tonight.
"Quinn is highly regarded around here," said Schenn. "He's a high pick and had a great amount of success in college. I've seen him play in the World Championships and he was great at that level. I'm excited for the chance to play with him."
Teammates weren't offering up advice to Hughes, saying he simply needs to stick to his game to find success. Coach Green echoed that sentiment.
"I talked to Quinn today and told him to just play his game. I hope he enjoys himself."
Video: PREGAME | Green vs. Kings