It didn’t take long for the youngest player on the 2021-22 Northeastern Huskies roster to make another positive impression during the team’s first practice at Matthews Arena.
True freshman Jack Hughes corralled a loose puck near the right post and pulled a defenseman to him as he feigned a move to the outside. Turning his body to shield the puck, he then made a quick cut to the opposite direction to open space between him and the man covering him, forcing a quick decision by his opponent.
The moment the defender lunged and was off balance, Hughes pushed it to the tape of a wide-open Sam Colangelo off the left post. The Anaheim Ducks prospect from Stoneham, Mass., then wasted no time in burying puck in the back of the net through the back door.
It was just one practice play among many, with many more practices and games to come. However, the natural vision and poise that Westwood, Mass., native Hughes showed so early in the process is indicative of his rising stock as an expected early-round selection in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal next summer.
This article appeared in the print edition of the September/October 2021 New England Hockey Journal magazine.