Photos by Panthers Images, used with kind permission, follow Panthers Images on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
League – 55
Challenge Cup – 7
Play Offs – 3
Total Goals: 6 / Total Assists: 18 / Total PIMs: 62
Okay D-man but that’s all he’s been, I haven’t seen a performance from him that I would describe as more than okay. If he were to return I wouldn’t be excited but I wouldn’t be upset either.
Hughes is a defenceman who goes about his business quietly until a big hit needs to be made. However, this physicality has not been utilised very often which has been symptomatic of a big defence that has often been reluctant to throw the body. This season his points production has not hit the levels I expected given he was brought in by Chernomaz as a defenceman who could contribute offensively and for these reasons I would not look to re-sign him.
One that flew under the radar for a lot of people, he was definitely missed by the team when he was injured. Caught out of position at times (but then again, who wasn’t this season!) he was dependable for the most part. A re-signing I wouldn’t be adverse to.
‘Mr +/-‘ has had an excellent debut season in the black and gold. Defensively sound, his basic yet effective style of play contributed to a number of strong performances. Early on, his physicality both on the boards and in open-ice was noticeable with some bone-crunching hits. This eased off as the season progressed, but Hughes calming spatial awareness in his own end provided fans with reassurance whenever he was on the ice. Despite playing a strong defensive game (best + rating on the roster), there was the odd goal thrown in too, showing there was a little more in the locker than simply stopping pucks from getting to the Panthers net. A rare success story from the season.
My summary of Tommy Hughes isn’t too dissimilar to that of Billingsley with an added bit of what I think we expected from Billingsley when Jeff Brown called him ‘The Billdozer’. Hughes wasn’t the biggest in defence but he checked bigger than he was and it was lovely to watch when it was executed properly, one of a select number of players I’d be ok with seeing a re-signing announcement for.