Barton will turn 28 in September and will then be classed as one of United's more experienced campaigners.
When asked about the new levels of maturity on show from Barton in the last 12 months and his leadership qualities towards younger players in the final few games of the season, Hughton quipped: "They are not things you usually associate with Joey!"
However, he also told the Evening Chronicle: "For him it has been frustrating, as with every player they want to be playing football.
"He has missed an awful lot of football. It will be a happy period for him to get the boots back on.
"He did not have the involvement he would have liked last season, but he accepted there were players in the squad who had played a much bigger part than him.
"They warranted the opportunity to finish the season."