12up Logo12up Logo

Biggest Flaws in Jack Hughes' Game

KOSICE, SLOVAKIA - MAY 12: Jack Hughes of the United States skates against France during the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Slovakia group A game between United States and France at Steel Arena on May 12, 2019 in Kosice, Slovakia. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
United States v France: Group A - 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Slovakia | Martin Rose

The 2019 NHL Entry Draft is coming up this Friday, and there is a serious two-headed monster at the very top of the prospect board.

Regardless of who gets Jack Hughes and who gets Kaapo Kakko, the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers will get a fantastic player at first and second overall picks, respectively.

The odds-on favorite to go first overall is Hughes, who has been regarded the best player in this class for almost three years leading up to the draft in Vancouver, but he is not the most complete player just yet. That's largely because of his age, but there are still flaws to his game, starting with these three.

Goal Scoring

Hughes is certainly more of a playmaking center than a goal-scorer right now, which is definitely not a bad thing, but it is one of the few gaps in his skill set. Throughout his young career, he has never scored more goals than had assists in any season or even tournament. Although he is not the purest scoring threat in the draft, he has the potential to become a great one as his confidence builds in the NHL.

Defensive End

A common theme in young players is that they develop in the offensive zone before they do in their own zone. Hughes is not the best defenseive forward heading into the draft, but he is nowhere near the worst, either. Throughout his developmental career on the USNTDP Juniors team, his game in the defensive zone has improved more and more each year. Once he reaches the NHL, his defense will improve with coaching as well as experience playing with and against the best players in the world.

Size and Physicality

Once Hughes fills out more as he gets older, this will likely not be as much of a flaw as it is heading into his draft. The 5-10 centerman weighs roughly 170 pounds and shapes his game around speed, finesse, and his hockey IQ. However, he is very strong on the puck and is willing to go get the puck where ever it is on the ice because of his tremendous will on the ice, but playing against grown men who are bigger and stronger, his frame could prove to hurt him early in his career.