Michigan loses Hughes after two seasons as blueliner signs with Vancouver

 (photo: University of Michigan Athletics)
Quinn Hughes led Michigan in scoring this season with 33 points on five goals and 28 assists (photo: University of Michigan Athletics).

Michigan sophomore defenseman Quinn Hughes has signed an entry-level contract with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, forgoing his junior and senior seasons with the Wolverines.

The Orlando native was selected by the Canucks in the first round (seventh overall) of the 2018 NHL Draft, but returned to Ann Arbor for his sophomore season.

He led the Wolverines in points with 33 (five goals, 28 assists in 32 games), which was the sixth highest in the nation among defensemen.

“Thank you to the coaching staff, medical staff, trainers and the best fans in college hockey,” Hughes said in a statement. “Most importantly, thank you to my teammates who made this the best two years of my life. Proud to be a part of the Michigan family. Go Blue.”

“I want to congratulate Quinn on his signing with the Vancouver Canucks,” added Michigan coach Mel Pearson. “I want to thank him for his time at the University of Michigan and the contributions that he made to our program. Quinn is an outstanding player, but more importantly he is an outstanding young man. The Canucks are getting an elite prospect and we look forward to following Quinn’s professional career.”

Hughes finishes his Michigan career ranking 25th all-time in assists by a defenseman. His 24 assists as a freshman are the most by a Wolverine rookie blueliner, while his 29 points rank third all-time by a Michigan freshman defenseman. His 33 points this season rank tied for eighth all-time for U-M sophomore defensemen, with his 28 assists tied for fourth all-time with Patrick Neaton (1990-91).

“Quinn is an exceptional skater, strong on the puck and plays with creativity and vision,” said Canucks GM Jim Benning in a news release. “He was a leader on his team at the University of Michigan and has had success at the international level. We’re excited for Quinn to join our team and continue to grow his game as a member of the Vancouver Canucks.”