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Photo Credit: Jim Pierce/Northeastern Athletics

With the No. 29 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, the Edmonton Oilers could select… Jack Hughes?

The 2022 NHL Draft is just over one week away. In the coming days, I’ll be profiling some prospects who the Edmonton Oilers might be interested in drafting.

As I noted in my pre-draft look at the organization’s farm system last week, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ken Holland trade down from No. 29 overall given the Oilers don’t select again until the fifth round. With that in mind, I’ll look for prospects who are expected to go early on the second day of the draft rather than those projected to go in the first round.

One thing that Ken Holland and Co. have prioritized at the draft over the past couple of years is selecting forwards who have a quick pathway to contributing to the NHL club on an entry-level contract. If they want to continue that trend, one player that would make sense for them is Jack Hughes.

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No, not the Jack Hughes that was selected first overall in the 2019 draft. There’s another Jack Hughes, the son of Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes, who plays at Northeastern University and is a first-time draft-eligible prospect this year.

Hughes is a similar prospect to Dylan Holloway, in that both players were among the youngest in NCAA hockey during their freshman seasons. Their production was also very similar, as Hughes scored seven goals and 16 points in 39 games, which almost mirrors the eight goals and 17 points that Holloway scored for the University of Wisconsin in 2019-20.

The similarities end there as Holloway is known for his speed while Hughes’ calling card is his vision and playmaking in tight spaces. Based on how scouts talk about Hughes, he projects to be a middle-six player who can generate offence while playing a sound defensive game. Hughes was also one of the top prospects in his year coming out of the U.S. Development Program but injuries slowed his development, so there could be more upside than what scouting reports suggest.

Jack Hughes

Position: Centre
Shoots: Left
Nationality: Canada/USA
Date of birth: November 2, 2003
Height: 6’0″ / 183 cm
Weight: 170 lbs / 77 kg

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Scouting report…

The son of Montreal Canadiens GM Kent Hughes, Jack very well could be there when the Habs pick in the second round. He was one of the top Americans in the 2003 birth year as a U17, but injuries derailed him and he hasn’t quite been at that level since. Still, there is a highly intelligent, skilled player in there still. He didn’t put up spectacular numbers at Northeastern, but I think he can break out this year with some added strength. Hughes has some intriguing upside due to his playmaking ability and a full body of work that warrants extra attention. – Chris Peters, Daily Faceoff

Hughes is one of the more skilled and creative players in the draft. He has high-end puck skills and ability to improvise with the puck to create chances for himself and his teammates. He’s able to score goals but he’s a pass-first type player. Hughes lacks ideal speed for the NHL and the pace of higher levels will be his main test. He competes well enough. He won’t run guys over but he’s responsible off the puck and doesn’t shy from physical play. Hughes projects as a bottom-six forward. – Corey Pronman, The Athletic

The Oilers went the college route with Dylan Holloway in 2020 — that pick has looked good thus far — and I wouldn’t be surprised if they go back to the well and take Hughes here. Most teams have him in the second round but a standout performance at the combine (both in the testing where he was one of the highest achievers and in the interviews according to a couple of sources) could sneak him into the first. Look for his production to take a strong uptick as a sophomore at Northeastern next year. – Scott Wheeler’s mock draft


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