The 18-year-old left-handed blue-liner from Orlando, Fla., had five goals and 29 points in 37 games with the University of Michigan in 2017-18 and was named to the Big 10 all-rookie team, as well as being a second-team all star.
Hughes, the No. 6-ranked North American skater by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau, also won a bronze medal in the 2018 world junior championships with the United States.
“I’m excited. I obviously knew Vancouver would be right around my spot,” said Hughes.
“It’s a great hockey market and they’ve got a lot of young talent coming up.”
In 2018, Hughes won a bronze medal in the 2018 IIHF World Championships with the U.S., a tournament that included current NHL players who were not competing in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He recorded two assists in 10 games in the tournament.
Before joining Michigan, Hughes played two seasons with the United States National Team Development Program.
The five-foot-10, 173-pound blueliner is the son of Jim Hughes, who was a Boston Bruins assistant coach from 2001 to 2003 before eventually taking various roles with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization between 2006 and 2015. His younger brother Jack is currently part of the USNTDP and is expected to go high in the 2019 NHL draft.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) June 23, 2018
The Buffalo Sabres selected Swedish defenceman Rasmus Dahlin with the No. 1 pick overall.
Considered far and away the class of the 2018 talent pool, the slick 18-year-old had seven goals and 13 assists in 41 games for Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League in 2017-18.
Dahlin is the second Swedish-born player selected first overall. Mats Sundin was the top choice of the Quebec Nordiques in 1989.
Dahlin also was named his country’s top junior hockey player last season.
The six-foot-three, 185-pound Dahlin was honoured as the top blue liner at the 2018 world junior championship in Buffalo, registering six assists in seven games. He also played twice for his country as a 17-year-old at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
The Carolina Hurricanes, selecting second, took Russian-born Barrie Colts winger Andrei Svechnikov.
The Montreal Canadiens, the first Canadian team to pick, took Finnish centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi with the No. 3 selection. The Ottawa Senators then selected Boston University winger Brady Tkachuk, the son of ex-NHLer Keith Tkachuk, at No. 4.
The Arizona Coyotes selected the first Canadian-born player in the draft, grabbing Barrett Hayton of Peterborough, Ont., with the fifth pick. The centre plays for the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
The Edmonton Oilers, at No. 10, grabbed London Knights defenceman Evan Bouchard.
New Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas, in his first draft in the top job, traded down, sending the No. 25 pick to the St. Louis Blues for the No. 29 selection as well as the No. 76 pick in the third round. With the No. 29 pick, the Leafs took Swedish defenceman Rasmus Sandin from the Greyhounds, the junior team Dubas managed before coming to Toronto.
“We took the player that our scouts had as the best on our board,” Dubas said. “They’re the ones that do the work all year in the rink every single day from September through the end of May.”
After trading the 22nd selection to the New York Rangers for the No. 26 and 58 picks, the Senators used their second first-round spot to secure defenceman Jacob Bernard-Docker from Okotoks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
The only trade of the day with current NHL players came before the draft. The Colorado Avalanche acquired goalie Philipp Grubauer and defenceman Brooks Orpik from the Washington Capitals for the 47th pick. The move clears salary-cap space for the Stanley Cup champion Capitals to try to re-sign key pending free agents, including blue liner John Carlson.
The Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets did not have first-round picks.
Prior to the start of the draft, NHL commissioner presented the 2017-18 Humboldt Broncos with the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence.
The Broncos were on their way to Nipawin for a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff game on April 6 when their bus collided with a truck, resulting in the deaths of 16 people, including 10 players.
Created in 2015, the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence is given annually by the league to the draft candidate who exemplifies commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness and athleticism.
– with a file from the Canadian Press