The spotlight has been on Jack Hughes for years now. But instead of shying away from the pressure, he has embraced it.

Hughes is poised to become the first player to jump directly from the U.S. national team development program to the NHL. This season, Hughes had 23 goals and 86 points in 41 games, including registering two points per game in the USHL this season. “I’m focused on playing in the NHL next year,” Hughes said. “I think I can do it. The way the game is now speed and skill, I feel like my game translates perfectly to that.”

“My biggest things are my inner drive, my competitiveness,” Hughes said. “I want to score. I want to score every shift, make a play happen. I’m a smaller, skilled, speed player. I like to say I play like Patrick Kane a little bit, but I feel like I’m more of a Matt Barzal, cut through the neutral zone, lug the puck, find my teammates. I think that’s more my game.”