Luke Hughes, top 2021 NHL Draft prospect, could join brother with Devils


Luke Hughes said being selected by the New Jersey Devils at the 2021 NHL Draft and getting to play with his brother, Jack Hughes, would be ideal.

“It would be unbelievable to go to the Devils,” Hughes said Tuesday. “My brother clearly wants me to be there. That’d be super cool to play with him, and I’d love that. But at the same time there’s 32 great teams out there, and I’d be happy to go to go to any one of those teams.”

Hughes (6-foot-2, 184 pounds), a left-shot defenseman with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team, is No. 4 in NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters. The Devils have the No. 4 pick in the draft; the first round will be held July 23 (8 p.m. ET; ESPN2, SN, SN NOW), and rounds 2-7 are July 24 (11 a.m. ET; NHLN, SN, SN NOW).

Jack Hughes, a center and the No. 1 pick by the Devils at the 2019 NHL Draft, said he shouldn’t have to campaign too hard for his brother.

“There shouldn’t be much convincing needed if he is there,” Jack said. “I’d want to take him, and I’m not shy about saying that. But at the end of the day, Luke’s going to find his way. He’s a great player and I’d love to have him in New Jersey, but if it doesn’t work out, I know he’ll be successful wherever he goes.”

Luke said he’s had multiple meetings with Devils management.

“I think they’ve been pretty good conversations,” he said. “I’ve been to the rink, I know the franchise pretty well, Jack loves it in New Jersey. It’s a really cool rink, really cool fan base. That would certainly be exciting, but like I said, there’s 32 great teams out there.”

The oldest Hughes brother, Quinn Hughes, is a defenseman with the Vancouver Canucks, who have the No. 9 pick. Having two brothers already in the NHL, including one who plays his position, is an advantage Luke said he’s not shy to use.

“I can ask them anything,” he said. “I watch most of my brothers’ games. Every time they’re playing and I’m not, I’m usually watching them. We talk a lot and talk about plays and little areas, what you can do and what you can’t do. I think that’s huge for me. It’s a really good tool that I use a lot.

“Another thing, I skate with them in the summer, train with them. Our pro group is really good and to skate with them, battle against them every day. I think that’s huge for me.”

Hughes scored 34 points (six goals, 28 assists) in 38 games with the NTDP. He sustained a lacerated tendon in his foot March 7 and had season-ending surgery March 17. He said he’s finished his rehabilitation and plans on being on the ice for the United States at the World Junior Summer Showcase, which will be held at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan from July 24-31. The event will feature practices and games against Finland and Sweden and serves as the first step toward picking the teams that will play in the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship. That tournament is scheduled for Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta.

“I’ve been skating for five weeks now, I’ve been working out for like eight or nine,” he said. “I feel really good. I’m almost 100 percent, just trying to get my timing and stuff back. Finished rehab and there’s no problem with the toe. It feels great and I’ll be ready to go.”

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