Michigan Hockey: Should Quinn Hughes return for a second year?

Quinn Hughes can return to Michigan Hockey or start his NHL career immediately.

Quinn Hughes placed himself in an elite group of Michigan Hockey players when he was selected No. 7 overall in Friday night’s NHL Draft. Hughes was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks and became the fourth highest pick in Michigan Hockey history.

Quinn had a sensational freshman year, accounting for 5 goals and 24 assists, and helped the Wolverines advance to the Frozen Four. Now the defenseman can decide to sign a professional contract with the Canucks and start his NHL career, or return to Ann Arbor for his sophomore season.

The one-and-done isn’t as popular in college hockey as it is in basketball, but you still see it. Former Michigan Hockey star, Dylan Larkin was selected No. 15 overall in the 2014 Draft and decided to forgo his sophomore season and start his pro career right away. Hughes is a special talent, but he’s probably not at the same level that Larkin was when he got drafted.

Elite Prospects offers this scouting report of Hughes:

An elite defensive talent that has mastered the elements of speed and decision-making. He is calculated in his handling of the puck and well-versed in his ability to limit time and space for the opposition without the puck…His creativity and vision is what sets him apart from many other defenders, and he plays that exciting style of hockey that punishes opponents’ mistakes with immediacy… All-in-all, a complete defenceman that understands how to open up a game and take it over.

Hughes may not be a conventional defenseman, but he’s so much more than another shot-blocker. He’s definitely an offensive minded defenseman with the ability to handle the puck and create plays for the guys around him.

I think he’s capable of contributing for the Canucks right away, but returning to Ann Arbor isn’t out of the question. Hughes kept himself busy as a member of the USA team in The World Champions in May. He was the only college player on the team and contributed two assists as the U.S. took home the Bronze medal.