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2018 NHL Draft: Hughes vs. Boqvist

Scouts debate which defenseman should be selected first

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Quintin Hughes of the University of Michigan and Adam Boqvist from Brynas in Sweden's junior league have a lot in common.

The defensemen are about the same size, have similar skill sets, and each play a high-end, up-tempo offensive game.

Hughes (5-foot-9, 170 pounds) had 29 points (five goals, 24 assists) in 37 games as a college freshman this season. A left-shot defenseman, he also helped the United States win the bronze medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship and at the 2018 World Championship. At the Worlds, the 18-year-old had two assists in 10 games as the youngest player in the tournament.

 

[RELATED: Complete 2018 NHL Draft coverage]

 

He's No. 6 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2018 NHL Draft, which will take place at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The first round is June 22 (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SN, TVAS). Rounds 2-7 are June 23 (11 a.m. ET, NHLN, SN, TVAS).

Boqvist (5-11, 168) had 24 points (14 goals, 10 assists) in 25 games with Brynas. He also made his debut in the Swedish Hockey League; he had one assist in 15 regular-season games with Brynas and played in three playoff games.

Boqvist had six points (three goals, three assists) in six games to help Sweden win the bronze medal at the 2018 World Under-18 Championship and he was named the tournament's best defenseman. He won't turn 18 until Aug. 15, making him one of the younger players eligible for the draft.

Video: Adam Boqvist on his brother's advice, combine results

Boqvist, a right-shot defenseman, is No. 2 on Central Scouting's final ranking of International skaters for the draft.

"They do have a similar style in that they're both dynamic, they can both lead a rush," Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr said. "I do think Boqvist's game at the offensive blue line is really smart. He's a player that should be able to put up some good numbers. I think Quinn has the good game moving the puck out of the zone, carrying the puck, and he can lead a rush. They're similar styles but Boqvist is more on the offensive side and Quinn is a little more of a two-way style."

Most NHL scouts had a hard time picking between them. In a poll conducted by NHL.com, five of seven scouts picked Hughes but all said there is very little separating them, and any team that gets either player will be very happy.

The scouts were promised anonymity in exchange for honesty in revealing the reason for their decision.

Video: NHL prospect Quinn Hughes discusses the draft process

 

In favor of Quintin Hughes

"He probably gets more done in the end for me. [Skating] probably is the biggest difference. The escapability, he can get out of tight jams, moves his feet. The little guys have to be able to do that. [Boqvist] looks like the typical Swede, skates like it, moves the puck. He's not selfish in any way, shape or form. But his skating, for me, it's the other guy's game." 

"I would have said Boqvist at the start of the season, but Hughes just got better as the season went on. And playing at the World Championship, he was outstanding there."

"Hughes played better for me through the year. He played better in bigger games. Boqvist, there were some tournaments this year that he was just OK. I know he played well at the World Under-18s, but for me I expected more."

 

In favor of Adam Boqvist

"It's his hockey sense. He's always got his head up, looking around. Hughes skates really fast but I'm not always sure he knows where he's going."

"I think he moves the puck better. Hughes likes to hang onto it a bit, and that one-man breakout is great. Boqvist can be the one-man breakout but also pass it out well."

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