The Athletic’s Craig Custance spoke with Wings coach Jeff Blashill and forward Dylan Larkin, among others, regarding the potential displayed by Team USA defenseman Quinn Hughes, who’s expected to be drafted within the first half-dozen players selected at this year’s draft. Custance also speaks with TSN analyst Ray Ferraro and a scout regarding Hughes’ “ability to wheel”:
“He’s done a good job of learning the things that he’s gotten away with at the college level that he’s not going to get away with here,” Blashill told The Athletic. “That’s going to be the most important thing for his development — learning. Can he learn to think a step ahead of the puck before he gets the puck? That’s the biggest thing.”
Blashill has seen signs that Hughes can. He stressed to Hughes that he needed to be in position to attack right away with the puck on the power play. Against Denmark, the Americans scored a power-play goal because Hughes listened.
“For me, that said, ‘Here’s a young guy who can get better,’” Blashill said. “As long as he has the capacity to do that, he’s going to have a bright future.”
Hughes arrived in Denmark with skating as his calling card, but his passing is the skill that has impressed those around him. He’s shown an ability and willingness to hit guys up the ice to spring breakaways, with the necessary zip to his pass.