Cassius “Bear” Hughes had a strong season in Spokane in the Western Hockey League, and the Washington Capitals prospect looks to continue developing in his first year as a pro.
The 21-year-old center had team-high goals (24), assists (43) and points (67) in 64 games last season, including six in a 6-1 win over Terry. Points (3 goals, 3 assists). – City on March 12.
He was named captain in January and was named to the WHL America’s second All-Star team.
“I’m lucky to have every opportunity in Spokane,” Hughes said. “I have some responsibility, but it’s also an honor. I have some great teammates and teammates who are friends and good hockey players.”
Hughes was selected by the Capitals in the fifth round (148th overall) of the 2020 NHL draft. In May, he signed a one-year deal with the American Hockey League’s Hershey.
“Like many players in his draft year, Bell played fewer games than a typical prospect because of the shortened season due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Capitals assistant general manager Chris Patrick Player Personnel said. The best thing in terms of development is to play at a pro level and gain more experience. We want him to be able to play decent minutes and continue to develop his game against the pros.”
Hughes, a native of Post Falls, Idaho, has a strong connection to his ability to take advantage of the local youth hockey program.
“My dad was really into junior hockey there. That’s how I got involved,” said Hughes, whose older brother played. “Before that, there wasn’t much hockey in Northern Idaho at all. He came up with the program, and now I’m from a few different programs.”
After scoring 47 points (16 goals, 31 assists) in 61 games for Spokane in 2019-20, Hughes scored 24 points (9 goals, 15 assists) in 35 games for Fargo in the American Hockey League in 2020-21 .
In July, Hughes participated in the Capitals development camp, which included a scrimmage at Capital One Arena. He returned to Post Falls hoping to add some size to his 6-foot-2, 171-pound frame.
“I have a decent height, but I can use 10 to 15 pounds of muscle,” Hughes said. “This summer, that’s my main goal, just on the ice, just work out hard, eat as much as you can, try to gain a little weight.”
Hughes will return to Capitals training camp in the fall and is poised to earn a spot on the Hershey roster.
“No one is sure about that team, you have to be successful,” he said. “Whether you’re under contract or not, you still have to show up and show that you belong there.”