DETROIT — Jack Hughes made a name for himself playing hockey in Michigan.
On Tuesday, he skated at Little Caesars Arena for the first time as a pro.
The first overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft grew up the last few years in Plymouth, playing in USA Hockey's National Team Development Program.
"It's exciting. It should be fun. I've got some friends and family coming," Hughes told WXYZ. He went home Monday night and had a steak dinner with his family. "I was excited to come home. I was home for Christmas and the All-Star break. It was nice to go back and see my mom and little brother."
The Devils have had an eventful season, trading away former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall and firing head coach John Hynes. The rookie year has been filled with learning experiences for Hughes.
"It's what you dream of. It's awesome. It's the NHL. It's been a blast. This year, obviously in terms of team success, we'd like to be better," he added.
Hughes had seven goals and 13 assists, totalling 20 points in 53 points before the game in Detroit. The Devils had 58 points before Tuesday's game, ranking 26th out of 31 teams.
"I've learned a lot, obviously. There's been a lot of obstacles, of course. A lot of things have happened this year, but all-in-all I think it'll all help me in the long run," Hughes said.
There's no questioning his hockey sense, IQ, or playmaking abilities. Hughes made the jump to the NHL directly from the NTDP, and so growing pains were going to come in some form.
Throughout his rookie year, Hughes has put together some special moments, including scoring his first NHL goal against his brother Quinn's team, the Vancouver Canucks.
Jack spent the last week with his father on the Devils' dads trip, but his parents are all over the country -- and really, the world -- watching all three sons play hockey. Luke is currently with the NTDP's U-17 team, and is committed to play at Michigan. Jack watches his brothers play as much as possible.
"He's doing great," he said of Quinn. "Really exciting for him and the family. Excited for Canuck Nation. They're impressed with him."
Jack and Quinn both have their rookie cards in Upper Deck products this season. The younger Hughes said it's been surreal seeing kids ask him to sign his cards.
"It's something you dream of, being that little kid once. To be on that stage now, I try to be as good as I can to them."