Hughes, 17, commits to play for U.S.


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Jack Hughes, the likely No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL draft, has committed to play for Team USA at the upcoming IIHF Men’s World Championship, a source confirmed to ESPN.

He will join a roster that already includes Patrick Kane, Johnny Gaudreau, Jack Eichel, Ryan Suter and Hughes’ older brother Quinn, who made his NHL debut late in the 2018-19 season with the Vancouver Canucks.

At 17 years old, Jack Hughes will become the youngest player ever to suit up for Team USA at the senior world championship. Hockey Hall of Famer Phil Housley, who played for the U.S. in the tournament two months after his 18th birthday in 1982, is the next youngest on the list.

In addition to Hughes, recent New York Rangers acquisition and Harvard junior defenseman Adam Fox, and Ottawa Senators defenseman Christian Wolanin were also added to Team USA’s roster, per a source.

Hughes, who is projected to go No. 1 in the draft to the Devils, recently completed a bronze-medal performance at the IIHF World Men’s Under-18 Championship in Sweden. The Orlando, Florida-born center notched 20 points in seven games to lead all players in the tournament. It was the second-highest point total for a player in a single tournament in that event’s history. Hughes also became the U18 world championship’s all-time leading scorer, topping a record long held by Alex Ovechkin, with Hughes having collected 32 points over two appearances.

The last player to represent the United States in his draft season was Quinn Hughes, who appeared in last year’s tournament at age 18 before being selected seventh overall by Vancouver at the 2018 NHL draft. Assuming Jack gets selected as high as predicted, the Hughes brothers will become the highest-drafted American brothers in back-to-back drafts. The two also represented the United States at the 2019 World Junior Championship, where Team USA took silver, in January.

Jack Hughes will become the first U.S. player to appear in the U18 World Championship, World Junior Championship and Men’s World Championship in the same season.

The world championship will also feature one last head-to-head matchup between Jack Hughes and the consensus No. 2 draft prospect, Kaapo Kakko, who will be representing Finland. Their teams are scheduled to meet May 13 during the preliminary round of the tournament. The two players have faced off in previous IIHF World Championship events, with Kakko and Finland coming out on top in the gold-medal game in both the 2018 IIHF World Men’s Under-18 Championship and 2019 World Junior Championship.

Fox, who was acquired by the Rangers in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday, completed his junior season at Harvard earlier this spring. The offensive defenseman had 48 points and was named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey’s top player. Wolanin appeared in 30 games with the Ottawa Senators this season and had 12 points.

Team USA, which claimed the bronze medal in last year’s world championship, will open play against tournament host Slovakia on May 10.

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