This offseason, Quinn Hughes was drafted 7th overall in the 2018 draft to the Vancouver Canucks; arguably pretty good for a boy who just turned nineteen a couple days ago. This will likely be Hughes’ last season with Michigan hockey, since the Canucks plan on adding him to their team when he looks ready. By being one of the best defensive players in the Big Ten hockey league, Quinn Hughes has shown that he will soon be ready to join the NHL . However, as much as Quinn Hughes deserves all the hype surrounding him, he is a bit outshined by his younger brother. Jack Hughes is predicted to go number one overall in the 2019 NHL draft and has not yet committed to any college hockey team. The younger Hughes will probably head straight to the NHL, even though he is only turning eighteen in May. When the two brothers faced off last Friday, one of them really stuck out. Jack Hughes had one goal and two assists for a total of three points. Quinn Hughes did not get any points against the USA U18 team. The USA team dominated Michigan, outscoring the Wolverines by three goals, without giving them a chance to take the lead or even tie it up. By the end of the second period, the Michigan team was tired and the US sat comfortably with their three goal lead.
Friday was one of three losses that Michigan has to the USA developmental team in its history. Although the USA team is full of NHL-bound players, last year Michigan hockey handily beat them. All of the players on the USA team are 18 and younger, with less experience than most college hockey players. Nine times out of ten, a college hockey team should beat them. So, what does that mean for Quinn Hughes and his team? Yes, the USA team is talented, competitive, and knows how to handle the puck against older players. Yes, they did beat Michigan’s rival, Notre Dame, the reigning B1G champions, 5-2 the weekend before. Regardless, Michigan, who made the Frozen Four just six months ago, should have won. This non-conference game was a wake up call to the Wolverines. No single player, not even Quinn Hughes, can lead a team to victory. Michigan hockey has to change something if they want to have another successful season this year. The Big Ten teams are more difficult than the USA development team, even without players like Jack Hughes on their offensive line. Michigan hockey must wake up soon or they will get left behind in college hockey’s toughest conference.
Written by Vanessa Litchard