July 28, 2018 7:19 pm
Updated: September 12, 2018 7:37 am

Canucks prospect Quinn Hughes won’t play in the NHL this season

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Canucks fans hoping to see first-round draft pick Quinton “Quinn” Hughes dazzle at the blue line will have to wait another year.

The team confirmed on Saturday that the five-foot-10 and 173-pound, left-shooting defenceman will return to the University of Michigan for another season with the Wolverines.

The Canucks picked Hughes seventh overall, and, despite his small size, sizzle reels on YouTube had many fans salivating at the prospect of a new, exciting face on the team — particularly in the wake of the Sedin twins’ retirement.

Many fans had believed Hughes to be NHL-ready, and there was significant buzz that he could sign a contract with the Canucks this summer.

READ MORE: Quintin Hughes taken by Vancouver Canucks with the 7th overall draft pick

“We are in full support of Quinn’s decision to continue his university career as he further develops as a hockey player and student,” Canucks GM Jim Bennings said in a statement.

“He now has an opportunity to be a leader at the University of Michigan and represent team USA at the 2019 World Junior Championship in Vancouver. These are once-in-a-lifetime experiences that will only benefit Quinn’s future career.”

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The 18-year-old, who hails from Orlando, Fla., had five goals and 29 points in 37 games with the Wolverines in 2017-2018, and was named to the Big 10 all-rookie team and as a second-team all star.

Before joining Michigan, Hughes played two seasons with the United States National Team Development Program.

“My heart’s obviously still at Michigan,” Hughes told University of Michigan Athletics publication MGoBlue.com.

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“I was heartbroken when we lost to Notre Dame in the Frozen Four last year. I’ve never really been on a team that cares so much about each other, and I think that’s a big reason why I’m coming back, because I love my teammates.

According to MGoBlue.com, Hughes was undecided about the move until Friday.

“There were positives and negatives both ways and, honestly, you can go back and forth all day. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last month,” he said.

“And I’d been thinking about this a lot over the last couple weeks, especially with contract talks heating up.”

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The Canucks will now have to make do with Bo Horvat and rookie sensation Brock Boeser — who is expected to return from injury this fall — to satisfy fans’ appetite for the young and the new.

The team also added three new free-agent forwards to the roster in the off season.

Centre Jay Beagle and left winger Antoine Roussel both signed four-year deals with the Canucks, while Tim Schaller signed a two-year contract.

-With files from the Canadian Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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