Hughes or Kakko?
Whoever the Devils don’t decide at No. 1, the Rangers certainly will grab at No. 2.
The first round of the NHL Draft can be Friday night time at Rogers Area in Vancouver, with rounds two by way of seven carried out on Saturday on the Canucks’ residence rink. The Devils gained the draft lottery for the second time in three years and can decide first. The Rangers, who own two first-spherical choices, moved as much as second.
The Devils should determine between Florida-born middle Jack Hughes of the U.S. National Workforce Improvement Program – all indications are he will probably be New Jersey-sure – or Finnish right wing Kaapo Kakko, who intensified the talk over who ought to go No. 1 with an electrifying performance as Finland topped favored Staff Canada to win the World Championships last month.
This yr’s draft class is considered a particularly deep one and one that could be dominated by members of Hughes’ U.S. underneath-18 squad, so there’s plenty of expertise previous Nos. 1 and a couple of. The Rangers also hold the twentieth general decide, whereas the Islanders select twenty third.
Right here’s Newsday’s mock draft for the primary round:
1. New Jersey Devils – Jack Hughes, C, US U-18 (NTDP), 5-10, 171, Shoots left: Superior skater with great vision and elite degree hockey IQ. Had 112 factors in 50 games and set a NTDP report with 228 profession factors. Large playmaker that a staff undoubtedly might build round.
2. Rangers – Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (Liiga), 6-2, 194, Shoots left: Huge power ahead who is robust on the boards, goes to the soiled areas and finishes plays. Starred in Finland’s prime league (22 objectives in 45 video games, a report for a draft-eligible participant) and in the World Championships (workforce-excessive 6 objectives as Finland gained the gold). Completed product.
3. Chicago Blackhawks – Alex Turcotte, C, US U-18 (NTDP), 5-11, 186, Shoots left: Fiery competitor who performs a 200-foot recreation. A second-line middle behind Hughes, the Chicagoland native is dedicated to the College of Wisconsin, so he’s a yr or two away.
four. Colorado Avalanche (from Ottawa Senators) – Bowen Byram, D, Vancouver (WHL), 6-2, 195, Shoots left: Led all…