SECAUCUS, NJ – When the New Jersey Devils took away Luke Hughes with the fourth pick in the NHL draft, Brother Jack jumped off the couch next to him and trembled with excitement as he gave him a big bear hug.
“That might be the happiest I’ve ever seen him,” Luke said.
Rightly so because one day they could be teammates. Jack Hughes has 117 NHL career games since the Devils first picked him in the 2019 draft, and now Luke is on his way to New Jersey.
“It’s a dream come true to play in the NHL, and it’s also a dream come true to play with your brother,” Luke said. “Both things are happening tonight.”
Luke is Hughes’ third brother selected in the top 10 in the past four years after Quinn went ninth to Vancouver in 2018. Quinn, who was sitting next to Luke and Jack watching the draft together at his family’s home in Michigan Said: “Dynamic brother, I’m a little jealous.”
Luke Hughes donned the No. 86 Devils jersey, with the tags still attached, and said he’d like to wear No. 43 if he makes it to the NHL. Jack certainly hopes so.
“He’s a great pick for our team,” he said on the draft broadcast. “We have a great player. But right now I am a proud older brother.”
Jack Hughes couldn’t contain his excitement, appearing in his brother’s video interview to greet Devils employees on the call. Luke said having Jack and Quinn as brothers helped him get to this point.
“It’s huge to have them as brothers,” he said. “Growing up with them, all the battles we had on the outdoor court and the mini sticks and all that. That’s where our passion grew and we really became little players.”
Luke Hughes is committed to playing at Michigan next season, where he could be teammates with Buffalo No. I pick Owen Power if the great defender comes back to school. Players from Michigan or going to Michigan were selected with four of the top five picks, including Matthew Beniers, second after the Seattle Kraken expansion as the first pick in franchise history.
The family connections from the first round did not end with the Hughes brothers. Tyler Boucher, son of former NHL goalkeeper Brian Boucher, went 10th to Ottawa, and Cole Sillinger, son of retired forward Mike Sillinger, went to Columbus’s side.
The Blue Jackets were one of 12 record teams Mike Sillinger played for during his 17 NHL seasons, and Cole was born in Columbus.
Cole said he inherited his hockey sense and level of competition from his father.
“He was trusted a lot in all three zones,” he said. “He was trusted in key situations, whether it was head-to-head or the need to get a big penalty. That’s something I really try to model after my game so that my teammates will trust and trust him.” .
KURVERS OF WILD HONOR
Minnesota Wild used the occasion of their first-round pick to honor the late assistant general manager Tom Kurvers, who died last month of lung cancer. GM Bill Guerin called Kurvers someone who had a positive impact on everyone he interacted with.
The team enlisted the help of Kurvers’ four sons in the 20th national team, Swedish goalkeeper Jesper Wallstedt.