Cameron Hughes made a solid impression upon arriving in Providence toward the tail end of the 2017-18 season. The Bruins’ kept their eyes on the former Wisconsin product for a future call-up.
One year removed from a 28-point campaign in 53 games in 2018-19, the Bruins recalled Hughes to Boston recently. His two-way prowess made a good fit during his stint up I-95 as the Bruins deal with several injuries with their forward core.
Hughes has been a Swiss Army knife ever since his arrival to the pro game. He’s shown the capability of playing in any situation from even strength to the special teams.
Through the first 13 games of the 2019-20 season, Hughes collected two goals and four assists. The stats aren’t anything to write home about, yet Hughes showcased his well-rounded traits to impress Boston’s front office en route to his first career callup. Hughes made his NHL debut on Nov. 4 following an injury to David Backes.
“A lot of excitement,” Hughes said upon receiving the news of his first trip up I-95. “It was a pretty cool feeling to get that call. You’ve been working your entire life to get that chance. I definitely enjoyed that chance.”
Hughes drew a fourth line assignment against the Penguins last Monday at TD Garden. His final stat line: 16 shifts and 9:53 of ice time. The Bruins assigned Hughes back to Providence following his NHL debut.
Hughes hasn’t returned to the scoresheet in his first three games since his return to the Ocean State, but it wasn’t for the lack of trying. The 23-year old had his fair share of chances, collecting seven total shots on goal in Providence’s three games over this past weekend.
The second-year pro doesn’t seem all too concerned about his recent scoring drought.
“I think my consistency has gotten a little better,” Hughes said about his improvement since his first season in pro hockey. “I’m stronger on pucks, but those are things I can still work on.”
Hughes now has 82 career AHL games under his belt tallying 15 goals and 22 assists and plus-eight rating during his first year-plus in Providence. More importantly, his consistent effort in the minors will only help his case for another callup. s
We don’t know if and/or when Hughes will return to Boston, at least in the short term. But his work ethic and two-way play brings value to a P-Bruins squad currently sitting in third place in the AHL’s Atlantic Division.
How many players can you name off the top of your head at both the NHL and AHL that routinely plays on both the penalty kill and man-advantage? Not many, which is what makes Hughes so special. His ability and willingness to do both have drawn the praise from teammates and coaches alike, especially from Jay Leach.
“I love him,” the third-year Providence coach said about Hughes. “I say it all the time. He does everything for us. He kills, he plays on the power-play, he does everything and he continues to do that. Whether he’s up [in the NHL] or he’s down [in the AHL], he plays the same way. He competes and he’s been terrific.”
The I-95 carousel saw Hughes, Anders Bjork, Peter Cehlarik, Zach Senyshyn and Urho Vaakaninen earn early-season callups. Again, we don’t know if Hughes will make another hour-long trip, but his versatility will always help whenever GM Don Sweeney needs to make a call.
He’ll continue to work hard and fine-tune his game down in Providence. But Hughes remained grateful for his first NHL opportunity — as short as it was — and thanked the people who helped the most en route to achieving his dream.
“It was super-exciting. A lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifices from my parents and my family,” Hughes added. “It was a special night.”
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