Northeastern secured its first verbal commitments from players born in 2003 on Wednesday after it was announced that Ryan St. Louis and Jack Hughes both pledged their collegiate eligibility to Jim Madigan’s program. St. Louis and Hughes are considered two of the elite 2003-born talents in the nation, and are huge gets for the future of Madigan, Jerry Keefe, and Jason Smith’s program.
Ryan St. Louis is the son of former NHL superstar and University of Vermont alum Marty St. Louis. The left-shot forward from Connecticut is widely considered to be among the best 03-born forwards in the United States. He is currently playing Bantam hockey in Connecticut, and will attend Brunswick, a prep school in Greenwich, CT.
Ryan has been active in showcases with his team, and there have been a handful of reports about him by Jeff Cox of SBNation and the New England Hockey Journal. As recently as October 2017, Cox said St. Louis “is a great passer who plays like a rink rat. It’s easy to tell he grew up around the game with some of the things he does with the puck on his stick. He keeps pucks going, had a really nice sauce pass and recovers pucks. His vision and skating are both high-end.” In August 2017, Cox reported from the Crimson Combine at Harvard, and St. Louis was his top standout forward at the event, saying “There was little doubt he was the best player here, and he’s one of the top ‘03s in the country. St. Louis competes hard each shift. He scored the first goal of the game, sneaking in alone and tucking a shot into the top corner of the net. On the second goal, his quick stick helped him be the first on the rebound. He won battles along the wall. He was the first player back on the backcheck on several occasions. He was around the puck and went to the dirty areas.” Cox’s oldest report was April 2017, which rated him as a “A+” skater and “the best forward there.” Cox said “He’s an elite skater with tremendous speed and hands. He makes plays. He has a nose for the puck. He made a great move for a breakaway goal, accelerating past the defense and shielding the puck with his body.”
Further supporting the high praise earned from Cox was a report from US Hockey Reports rankings of 03 forwards from the TPE Spring Showcase. Once again, St. Louis was rated an A+ forward, with USHR saying he is a “Powerful, strong skater who can gain separation quickly. Excellent puck skills. Strong sense of game.” We had included Twitter reports on St. Louis that came out after his commitment was announced.
Not to be outdone, Jack Hughes is another high-end forward that committed to the Huskies mere hours after St. Louis did. Hughes is the brother of Huskies 2019 recruit Riley Hughes, who this year played for St. Sebastian’s in Massachusetts. Hughes is another left-handed forward, from Massachusetts, currently playing for the Boston Jr. Eagles program. He was actually linemates with St. Louis at the TPE Spring Showcase, and was also rated an A+ skater by USHR, who in the same report linked above said of Hughes: “Tall, skinny, excellent skater, excellent vision and hockey sense. When he gets stronger, he could be a force.”
Cox also had reported on Hughes in the same pieces linked above, saying in October that Hughes “plays a similar game to his older brother, ‘00 Riley Hughes (St. Sebastian’s). He has a good shot, can possess the puck and dish it to teammates. Most of his work comes on the perimeter.” In August, he reported “He has good hands and likes to stickhandle. With his size and physical tools, he has upside.” And in April, he was rated an “A” skater with the comments “He had good hands and vision. He made a couple of really nice looks from the wall to find open teammates. He skates well and has some signs of becoming a good player.” More comments on Hughes are below
Clearly, these are both massive commitments for the future of the Northeastern hockey program. Both St. Louis and Hughes have the projection of being star players at the NCAA level, top-six and potentially top-three forwards on the line chart that the Huskies can build their offense around. As 2003 birth years, they are at least three years away, raising the always-present concern about decommitments or jumping to the Canadian Hockey League. However, as we mentioned yesterday to a reader, the Huskies have not had many decommitments since the transition from Greg Cronin to Jim Madigan finished up around the fall of 2012. The Huskies also have not lost a commitment to the CHL since Philippe Gadoury jumped in 2014 before he was slated to arrive. Combining these two recent histories with the understanding that players certainly can keep their word from a young age (Cayden Primeau committed when he was 15, remember), there is no reason at this point to expect one of these players to jump from their commitment.
Both players are eligible for both the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft and the United States Hockey League Futures Draft in 2019. They are eligible for the 2021 National Hockey League draft. Both players are considered strong candidates for the US National Team Development Program when selection comes around next year. At this time we expect them to arrive as true freshmen in the Fall of 2021, when they both will be 18.
Congratulations to Ryan and to Jack! Welcome to the Huskies family and we look forward to watching them develop and improve as they make their way to Huntington Avenue.
Please check out our graphic of the Huskies’ pipeline HERE.
As always, go Huskies!