Dr. Dangles' Prospect Profiles: Ryan Hughes (C - Portland Winterhawks #19)

Player Bio

Ranked: 169th by NHL Central Scouting Services for North American Skaters

Shoots: L

Height: 5'8"

Weight: 154 lbs

Stats: 70 GP, 27 G, 20 A1, 10 A2, 47 P1, 57 P, 64 PIM, +1; Playoffs: 11 GP, 3 G, 5 A, 8 P, 18 PIM, -3

Despite being overshadowed by his teammates Cody Glass and Henri Jokiharju, make no mistake: Ryan Hughes is a gem, and is a gem that is probably going to be around in the very late rounds of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. The only reason that he is ranked so low by NHL CSS is because he is so undersized, standing at a diminutive 5'8" and 154 lbs. However, Hughes is exactly the type of player that a GM should take a gamble on in circumstances where there is very little risk, and a lot of reward.

Scouting Report

Hughes is a very strong skater with a great pivot, able to change directions and rotate on his skates very well, which allows him to outmaneuver opponents. His signature is his ability to spin and pirouette on his skates, and he has a wonderful level of finesse that has put him in a great position to succeed in the WHL. His mastery of his edges is very noteworthy, and he's in great control of his balance and movement. He's extremely slippery in close quarters, and very difficult to contain. He seems to always find a way to slip away from defenders, even when it looks like they might have him cornered. Despite his diminutive size, he's very fiery player that's not afraid to get into the mix physically, and has been known to drop the gloves in circumstances.

An underrated playmaker, he has great vision, and demonstrates a lot of poise and patience with the puck on his stick. As good as he is a playmaker, he's an even better goalscorer, and possesses a great shot. In fact, he scores goals at 5v5 at the same rate as Nikita Popugaev. Overall, he's a very creative player with a combination of speed, vision, skating, finesse, and excellent puck skills. He'll razzle you, he'll dazzle you, and did I mention he's only 169th in the rankings for North American Skaters, and will probably be a late round pick?

Hughes topped off what I would consider a standout season with a solid playoff performance, scoring 3 goals and registering 5 assists, finishing 4th on the Winterhawks in scoring, and 3rd for forwards, behind only Joachim Blichfeld (San Jose's 2016 7th round pick, who had 10 points), and Cody Glass (who had 9 points).

Moving forward, I see Hughes as transitioning away from playing center to becoming a winger, as I don't think his 200 ft game is going to be good enough to become an impactful center in the NHL. However, I do think he has the ability to become a very good winger. He will, of course, need to focus on continuing to get stronger and faster, and will have to pack on some muscle, as his current weight will simply not cut it at the next level. This is nothing that is can't remedied through working with a conditioning coach and working with a training staff.

How does Hughes Compare to Other First-Time Eligible Players in the WHL?

What is so alluring about Hughes is the fact that he's an absolute beast at 5-on-5. Here are his numbers at 5-on-5:

  • 1.11 G/60 (Tied for 10th among first-time eligible WHL prospects with 30+ GP with Nikita Popugaev)
  • .81 A1/60 (12th)
  • .35 A2/60
  • 1.92 P1/60 (10th)
  • 2.27 P/60 (Tied for 10th with Jaret Anderson-Dolan)
  • -2.36 GF%Rel
Only 9 WHL prospects have better P1/60 than Hughes that are eligible for the first time this draft: Kailer Yamamoto, Mason Shaw, Cody Glass, Kole Lind, Kyle Olson, Nikita Popugaev, Lane Zablocki, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, and Aleksi Heponiemi. All of these players are also ranked ahead of him in NHL CSS, and deservedly so.

However, here's an incomplete list of players who have a lower P1/60 at 5v5 than Hughes, but are ranked higher on NHL CSS: Nolan Patrick (ranked 1st on NHL CSS), Nick Henry (ranked 25th), Jordy Bellerive (ranked 82nd), Jake Leschyshyn (42nd), Sami Moilanen (110th), Austin Pratt (103rd), Stelio Mattheos (38th), Ryan Peckford (86th), Michael Rasmussen (5th). He outproduces all but 9 of the first-time eligible WHL prospects ranked on NHL Central Scouting, and will probably be available with a 5th-7th round pick. Talk about a massive bargain.

Video Highlights

Credit to YouTube user NHL Prospects

Credit to YouTube user NHL Prospects

Credit to YouTube user NHL Prospects

Credit to YouTube user NHL Prospects

Tomorrow, I will be discussing Czech prospect Filip Chytil. Until then, happy scouting!

This is a fanpost written by a WIIM community member. The views and opinions expressed here are that member's and do not necessarily reflect the views of the site itself.