Jack Hughes, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver on June 21-22, is writing a monthly diary this season for NHL.com leading up to the draft. The 17-year-old forward, who is the brother of Vancouver Canucks defenseman prospect Quinn Hughes, the No. 7 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, is a center playing for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program Under-18 team this season. He has 69 points (20 goals, 49 assists) in 35 games.
In his seventh entry, Hughes talks about his brother signing an entry-level contract with the Canucks and his goals down the stretch.
Hi hockey fans!
I was so glad I got to see Quinn sign his contract on Sunday to begin his NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks. It was something we knew was going to happen. I think his mind was made up, and once the University of Michigan lost their final game of the season, the picture became clearer.
After the loss to the University of Minnesota in the quarterfinal round of the Big Ten Tournament on Saturday, Quinn returned home on Sunday and the contract was here waiting for his signature. He signed ... it was great because we were all there at the house, so it was pretty special. He went back to Michigan that night, packed everything on Monday and was back at the house on Monday night. He was then on a flight at 6 o'clock the next morning (March 12) to Vancouver.
It was a surreal moment for the whole family to know he's finally in the NHL. Now there's no next level. We've always been looking forward to the next level and kind of pushing ourselves for the end goal and now he's there. It's going to be different for sure. It's going to be exciting to watch him play even though the games are going to be late ... but I'll watch him.
We have a big back-to-back home set against Green Bay on Friday and Saturday. I need five points to set the all-time NTDP record for career points; something I'm excited about. Clayton Keller (189 points) is the leader right now so I'll be doing my best to make it happen. I have a few games left and records are being broken, so it's cool to know what I've accomplished here.
I graduated from Plymouth High School (in Michigan) in January. I was waking up at 6 o'clock in the morning, getting to school at 7:10 a.m., going to class and then going to the NTDP for video and workouts. They were long days but now that I don't have to worry about school, it's kind of like a burden off my chest. It still stinks for all my teammates still going to school and they continually razz me about it, but it's all good.
Now that I'm out of school, I have a lot more time so obviously I'm sleeping in about two more hours, getting up at 8 o'clock in the morning and getting to rink when I can to work on my game even more. We've been on the road so much that I've kind of only been skating two times a week, so I usually take between 30-and-40 minutes working on my shot some mornings and face-offs on other mornings. I just rip 250 pucks by working on tips, deflections and different ways to score.
I've been doing that 2-to-3 times a week. It's not like it's something I have to do, but it's something that helps my game and my scoring. Once I started the early sessions with assistant coaches Kevin Lind and Dan Hinote, I've scored seven goals in my past five games. So it's something that has given me more confidence around the net. That's always a positive thing.
We're all getting ready and preparing for the 2019 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Sweden (April 18-28). That's the tournament that means so much and we're all looking forward to getting there and having a good showing.
Thanks for taking the time to read my diary this month.