Quinn Hughes signed a three-year, entry-level deal with the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday, March 10. (twitter.com/Canucks photo)

Canucks sign 19-year-old phenom Quinn Hughes

Defenceman gets three-year, entry-level deal with Vancouver

VANCOUVER — Many of Quinn Hughes’ new teammates on the Vancouver Canucks know all about the giant life transition the young defenceman is about to make.

The 19-year-old signed a three-year entry-level deal with the organization on Sunday.

The Canucks (28-32-9) picked Hughes seventh overall at the 2018 NHL draft, but he opted to play a second season at the University of Michigan this year before turning pro.

The five-foot-10, 170-pound blueliner had five goals and 28 assists in 31 games for the Wolverines this season, but the team was knocked out of the NCAA playoffs by the University of Minnesota on Saturday.

Now Hughes could see some NHL action this season.

Vancouver’s final 13 games of the year will provide a huge opportunity for the teen, said right-winger Brock Boeser, one of a handful of Canucks who jumped to the team after finishing a season of college hockey.

“When I played those nine games (in 2017), it proved to me how fast the game is and how strong guys are and stuff like that. You go into summer knowing what you have to do to be ready for a full NHL season,” said Boeser, who played two seasons at the University of North Dakota.

Centre Adam Gaudette had just wrapped his third season at Northeastern University last year when he was signed with the Canucks.

He’d just won the NCAA award for the best player in Division I hockey when he slotted into Vancouver’s lineup for five games and said the time was a whirlwind full of big lessons.

“It’s a small sample size but it helps a whole heck of a lot,” he said.

RELATED: Stone gets 1st goal with Vegas in 6-2 win over Canucks

When Hughes joins the team next week, Gaudette’s advice to him will be simple.

“Just take it all in. Don’t let it slip by. Just enjoy it,” he said. ”You’re here for the end of the season, just enjoy it and get adjusted and then when it’s time to come back next season, you’ve really got to get after it.”

For defenceman Troy Stecher, the biggest difference between playing college hockey at the University of North Dakota and joining the Canucks was the personalities in the locker room.

The native of Richmond was now sitting amongst players he’d grown up watching, including Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

“That was the biggest thing,” Stecher said. ”I think from afar you kind of look at the NHL and you’re like ‘Well, there’s a superstar.’ But at the end of the day, we’re all just a group of guys that are fortunately pretty good at a sport. The camaraderie in the room is a lot of fun to be around and that was the thing I was kind of blown away by, how normal everybody was.”

When, exactly, Hughes will make his Canucks debut remains to be seen. He’s expected to arrive in Vancouver on Tuesday and the team hosts the New York Rangers on Wednesday, but it’s unclear whether he’ll be in the lineup.

Coach Travis Green said on Sunday that he hopes Hughes’ transition from college hockey to pro will be clean and quick.

“He’s an exciting part of our future and I’m hoping that I get to see him sooner rather than later,” he said.

“I plan on getting him in (the lineup) if he’s here, that’s for sure. I want to play him as much as I can.”

Some Vancouver hockey fans caught a glimpse of the young star when the city hosted the world junior hockey championships in January.

Hughes and his younger brother Jack — a 17-year-old forward tapped to be one of the top picks at this year’s draft — helped team USA to a silver medal at the tournament.

Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a statement on Sunday that Hughes was a leader on his college team and has had success at the international level.

“Quinn is an exceptional skater, strong on the puck and plays with creativity and vision,” he said. “We’re excited for (him) to join our team and continue to grow his game as a member of the Vancouver Canucks.”

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

More Canucks coverage here

Just Posted

Nanaimo girls win bowling provincial championships, look to nationals

Jordan Singer and Brianna Robbins headed to national events in Laval and Edmonton

Nanaimo SAR, first responders execute rope rescue in Cassidy area

Rock climber said to have fallen in area of Riverbend Road

Questions about solar system’s Planet 9 will be posed in Nanaimo next week

Astronomer discusses possibility of planet’s existence at Nanaimo Astronomy Society meeting March 28

Raine Maida, Chantal Kreviazuk will present new duo act in Nanaimo

Couple touring new album ‘I’m Going to Break Your Heart’ across Canada, starting at Port Theatre

UPDATE: Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway in Nanaimo

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre

UPDATE: Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway in Nanaimo

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

Fire crews battle large blaze at Courtenay hostel

Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said nobody was injured

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Vancouver Island motorists attempted CPR on victim in fatal Highway 4 crash

Collision took place west of Whiskey Creek; man in his 70s died

Nanaimo pro wrestlers to duel tonight inside a steel cage

Scott Steel defends VIPW title against B.J. Laredo at the Departure Bay Activity Centre

Bucs lose to Cougars, hockey season is over

Nanaimo falls 4-3 to Victoria in Game 6 Friday night

Nanaimo’s 1 Port Drive could get a trial run as a temporary bus loop

Prideaux Street bus exchange expected to be relocated for six months this year

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Most Read