By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson
Cameron Hughes was drafted in the 6th round 165th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. When he was drafted, he was coming off a somewhat tough Freshman year at the University of Wisconsin. He played center for the Badgers and at times looked like he was physically overmatched. Despite this, the Bruins saw something they liked and drafted him. He is an exceptional skater and possesses a high hockey IQ. These qualities led the Bruins to drafting the Edmonton, Alberta native. Let’s dive in and see how he’s done since being drafted.
The 2015-16 season was Hughes’ Sophomore year at the University of Wisconsin. He had hoped it would be a year in which he would take a big step forward as a prospect after a somewhat disappointing Freshman season. In 32 games with the Badgers, he netted 5 goals while dishing out 20 assists for 25 total points and a +/- rating of –11. This was that step forward the young Badger was looking for. He saw an increase in point production as well as his overall play. He started to build more confidence as the year went on and finished it out strong. The center’s skating ability really shined through the season. He is a strong skater who also possesses a smooth stride. Overall, it was a season that could be built upon moving forward.
Hughes’ Junior year was a big one. He was given the “A” on his sweater at the start of it. Some people may not see this as a big deal, but it is something that many teams do value. It shows that the player has great leadership qualities, and his character is something you rarely need to worry about. With his new-found leadership role, he had a good season for Wisconsin. In 36 games with the Badgers, he netted 7 goals while tallying 25 assists for 32 total points and a rating of –7. His play improved a great deal. He was starting to show off his offensive ability more. Especially his improved shooting ability. Again, the 2016-17 season was successful and his senior season was one both he and the Bruins could look forward to.
The 2017-18 season brought big things for Hughes. It was his senior year at Wisconsin, and he saw his previous leadership role grow even further when he was named the team’s Captain. This was a big deal and a great honor. The newly appointed Captain was able to make the most of this honor in 37 games with the Badgers he potted 8 goals while dishing out 14 assists for 22 total points and a rating of –12. It was a good 4 years at Wisconsin for the former 6th round pick. He showed growth in each year. His skill and leadership qualities were evident on the ice while playing, and after the season he signed an entry-level contract with the Boston Bruins. The recent Wisconsin grad was able to get his feet wet in the pro game getting in 14 games with Providence. Although he didn’t find the back of the net, he did dish out 3 assists for 3 points and rating of –1. It was a good 2017-18 campaign for Hughes that gave him a taste of what was to come next season.
Coming into this season, it was Hughes’ first full professional year of hockey. He does have soft hands and good offensive ability, but some things the first year pro needed to work on were his play without the puck and defensive awareness. So far this season has been very good for the former Badger. In 25 games for Providence, he has netted 8 goals while dishing out 8 assists for 16 total points and a rating of +5. He has done well to showcase his offensive ability while also improving on areas the Bruins wanted him to. If he continues this successful first season in Providence, you may even see him up with Boston next season.
If Hughes is given time to develop, which he almost certainly will be, he could end up being a second- or third-line center. This would be big for the Bruins, not only because of his offensive or skating ability but also because of his leadership qualities. Character and leadership are invaluable to teams. The Bruins have done well-drafting players that possess this in bunches. It has been a long road since being drafted for the former Badger. When you’re taken in the 6th round of the draft not a lot is really expected of you. However, he has taken that and run with it. He’s worked hard to improve his game and prove that he belongs in professional hockey. It’s always stated that hard work pays off, and the young center is proving that he is one of the countless instances of this.