Report: Canucks top pick Hughes to join team for 2018-19?

Canucks insider Iain MacIntyre drops a bomb!

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Top prospect Quinn Hughes finally made his debut in a Vancouver Canucks jersey yesterday afternoon during the team’s opening practice of Canucks Development Camp.

The 7th overall pick from last month’s 2018 NHL Entry Draft had a bout of food poisoning that kept him off the ice Monday, but he didn’t show any ill effects during yesterday’s practice:

Hughes is in the house. Quinn Hughes, drafted 7th overall in 2018, hits the ice for the first time at CanucksDevCamp

The offensively gifted defenseman is arguably the best pure skater from the 2018 draft class and the early reports have him pegged as a Duncan Keith style offensive defenseman. Now, while Canucks fans may bristle at a Keith comparison, there’s no doubt that they’d love Hughes to put together the type of career that Keith has to date.

But… when will that pro career start? Ian MacIntyre formerly of The Province and now with Sportsnet shocked fans yesterday when he reported that Hughes could turn pro as early as next season.

Check it out:

Agent Pat Brisson and #Canucks GM Jim Benning spoke today about 7th pick Quinn Hughes turning pro. Each side will discuss what’s best for D-man’s development, and they’ll try to agree on a decision within a week.

Wow! Given the way the Canucks have developed past top picks like Olli Juolevi and Elias Pettersson, it certainly would be surprising to see Hughes play in the NHL in 2018-19. The kid is just 18 years old and he’s listed at just 5’10”, 170 pounds so he could stand to put on some weight, but in his mind he’s ready for the NHL.

“I’m very confident in my abilities. Obviously, I want to believe I can play in the NHL. But I know it’s a really hard league. It’s obviously the best league in the world, and not a lot of 18-year-olds, especially defencemen, come in and play. If it’s not an option, I definitely understand. Playing in college again wouldn’t be the worst thing.”

So… what does GM Jim Benning have in mind?

“At the end of the day, we’ve got to figure out what’s best for his development long term because he’s going to be a special player for us,” Benning said. “We don’t want to put him in a situation that he’s not ready for."

… so you’re telling me there’s a chance!?!