LA Kings: Bear Hughes one of the most intriguing draft prospects

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images) /

Projected to go at the very end of the NHL Draft, Bear Hughes is worth the gamble for the LA Kings.

One of my favorite aspects of the NHL Draft is finding late-round gems that project to have a significant impact on their respective franchise. For the LA Kings, Andre Lee could be that guy for the organization as the seventh-round pick of the 2019 NHL Draft. Lee, 20, is a left-handed shot that can play at both center and the wing.

He’s a big forward at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, and scored 20 goals and 15 assists for 35 points in 61 games for Sioux Falls of the USHL in his draft year. Lee certainly has his work cut out for him, but it makes these types of players easy to root for.

Turning our attention to next month’s draft, that under-the-radar player is Bear Hughes, who has one of the most fascinating stories and paths to organized hockey. Let’s dive in.

Bear Hughes

LA Kings Draft Bear Hughes
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /


  • Height: 6-foot-0
  • Weight: 170 pounds
  • Age: 19
  • Shot: R


  • #150 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters


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Bears Hughes is from Post Falls, Idaho, and was playing in a youth rec league just two years ago. He was invited to the Everett Silvertips development camp at age 17, advancing to the final scrimmage but never made the team. He landed with the Spokane Braves of the Kootenai International Junior Hockey League for most of the 2018-2019 season, scoring 41 goals with 25 assists for 66 posts in 46 games.

He was the unanimous KIJHL Rookie of the Year and was signed to a standard player agreement by the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL. He played in just two games for the Chiefs that year but tallied two goals.

This past season, he scored 16 goals with 31 assists for 47 points in 61 games and received a ringing endorsement from the Chiefs head coach.

“To go from the level he came from to get to this level is remarkable, and he didn’t even miss a step,” Manny Viveiros said, via KREM. “Even though he’s considered a rookie, he’s a veteran in our eyes.”

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Hughes has generally flown under the radar for most teams, but he could end being a steal of the draft. Sure, the track record isn’t there, but his film reveals precise shooting accuracy and puck-handlings skills. He’s not the fastest skater, but he seems to put himself in favorable positions for scoring opportunities.

He’s practiced alongside Chiefs alumni and current Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson, who sees a bright future.

“I played in the league and I saw the guys that came in, the kids that played, and truthfully I just thought he (Hughes) was better than a lot of the players I played with and against,” Johnson said, via KREM.

Hughes played on a talented Chiefs team that is expected to have at least three players taken in next month’s draft, including himself. Jack Finley and Luke Toporowski are two of the more talented forwards on the Chiefs roster but have been playing in organized leagues much longer than Hughes.

Despite the short track record, most media outlets project Hughes as a top-six forward in the NHL.