Hughes drafted by Kings, is son of Canadiens GM

MONTREAL — Jack Hughes wasn’t sure if his name was listed on the draft board of the Montreal Canadiens, the team for which his father, Kent Hughes, happens to be the general manager.

It made no difference to Jack.

In the end, the Canadiens made three picks before the Los Angeles Kings selected the 18-year-old center from Northeastern University in Hockey East in the second round (No. 51) of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Center on Friday.

“I think he wanted to avoid it as best as he could,” Hughes said of his father possibly drafting him. “There’s no way of really knowing, but he made it pretty clear beforehand that he was going to avoid (picking me) at all costs.

“I wouldn’t have minded it. It wouldn’t have really changed anything for me. At the end of the day, I want to play in the NHL … that’s really all that’s important to me. Whether it was Montreal, LA or any other team, I’d be fired up.”

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After Los Angeles made the pick, Kent Hughes put his son on the floor before he reached the Kings’ draft table to retrieve his jersey, speak to the management group and then with the media.

“He put me over by the stairs where I was coming down, gave me a hug and said ‘Congrats,'” Jack Hughes said. “It was really cool.”

Marc Bergevin, the Kings senior advisor to general manager Rob Blake, was fired as Canadiens GM on Nov. 28 and replaced by Hughes on Jan. 19.

“Crazy coincidence,” Jack Hughes said. “It’s weird to even just be here and have [my father] sitting down there, working.”

Hughes said he did talk to his father and gain valuable information about the draft and where he could fit.

“He prepared me for it, not to expect to be picked as high as maybe I would have thought,” he said. “You know, he just said, ‘Enjoy it, see what happens’. So that’s what I did. I was just kind of sitting up there waiting to see what would happen. We had different talks about the draft in the prior weeks or months. He explained to me how it works and how it can be crazy sometimes.”

Video: Jack Hughes drafted by Los Angeles Kings

Kent advised Jack to control only what he can control. Prior to becoming Montreal’s GM, he was a long-time NHL player agent, representing Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins) and Kris Letang (Pittsburgh Penguins), among others.

“You know, the draft is a good example of that,” Jack said. “I’m not going to be able to change when I get picked and where I get picked isn’t going to change the type of player I am. So that’s where I kind of took that and tried to enjoy this whole week, this whole process.”

Hughes (six foot, 169 pounds) was No. 26 in Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters after he had 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 39 games as a freshman at Northeastern.

“I think in order for me to be successful this past year, I had to play on both sides of the puck, had to compete, and I think that’s something I brought to a higher level than I had in previous years,” Hughes said . “I need to get bigger and stronger. I want to work on my game away from the puck, play with more pace. A lot of little things that I’ve been trying to work on and need to work on. But I think my size is the biggest thing for the near future.”

One thing is certain, Jack knows which team his mom will be rooting for if he’s fortunate to play for the Kings against the Canadians at some point in the future.

“The Kings for sure…definitely,” he said with a smile.

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