New Jersey Devils Claim Top Draft Choice Following NHL Lottery

Jack Breitowich, Maroon-News Staff

In every professional sport, the draft is one of the most anticipated events of the year. Teams look to improve their roster with fresh, young talent. This year’s NHL Draft class is filled with many stars, the most praised one being Jack Hughes, the 17-year-old centerman from Orlando, Florida. Hughes is projected to be the first overall draft pick making him the eighth American born player to be drafted first overall, joining forwards Auston Matthews, Patrick Kane and Mike Modano.

Hughes is on the smaller side, clocking in at 5’10” and 170 pounds. His speed and quickness make him one of the most lethal forwards in the draft class.

Last week, the NHL presented their draft lottery selection show to determine which team would be picking first overall, and who would follow them. The Colorado Avalanche had the highest chance of picking first overall with an 18.5 percent chance, after having received the first round pick from the last place Ottawa Senators. The Los Angeles Kings had the second highest chance with 13.5 percent, and the New Jersey Devils sat at third highest percentage with an 11.5 percent chance.

To the pleasure of the envious Senator fans, the Avalanche received the fourth overall pick and the Kings received the fifth overall pick.

The Chicago Blackhawks shocked the hockey world when they were picked to receive the third overall pick, jumping from the projected twelfth pick. The Blackhawks had an 8.2 percent chance at selecting in the top three of the NHL draft. The projected number three pick in the 2019 NHL entry draft is Vasily Podkolzin, the six foot Russian right winger. The Blackhawks are looking to make big moves this offseason to put bring them back to a Stanley Cup contender. The Blackhawks have had good luck with the third overall pick in the past, with their last third overall pick being their three-time Stanley Cup Champion captain Jonathan Toews.

The New York Rangers, the projected sixth overall pick, snuck in to snag the second overall pick. The Rangers ended the season with a 32-36-14 record with a -45 goal differential. The Rangers are looking to add young talent to generate some more offense to help their future hall of famer goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist. Kaapo Kakko, the 6’2 right winger from Finland, is the projected number two pick in the 2019 draft. Kakko is currently playing for TPS of the Finnish Liiga, where his scoring ability has been compared to fellow Fin Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets, who was drafted second overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

The New Jersey Devils claimed this year’s first overall pick, moving from the projected third pick. The Devils received the first overall pick in 2017, when they drafted Nico Hischier from Switzerland. Taylor Hall, the Devils’ alternate captain, joked that he was the reason the Devils were lucky enough to receive the first overall pick as his team has won five of his first nine draft lotteries. Hall was also drafted first overall in 2011. The Devils look to put together a strong roster this summer to put themselves in the right direction for success, and it seems as though Jack Hughes will play a large roll in their rebuild.

Contact Jack Breitowich at [email protected].