The 2019 Draft brought a lot of talent into the New Jersey Devils draft pool.
This week, the New Jersey Devils have one of the most important days in franchise history. On Tuesday, the Devils will make three 1st-round selections for the first time in franchise history (unless they trade one of them). Last season was a pretty important draft for the Devils, too. They had the first-overall pick, and then 10 picks after that.
Some of those picks look really, really good right now. Others might be a little further away than we’d hoped. Still, there’s a lot of time before they have to produce (except for one very specific option).
1st round, 1st overall
Jack Hughes, C, U.S. NTDP
New Grade: B
Jack Hughes was the pick at first overall. Some might be worried about the pick today, but no matter how Hughes looked like in his first year with the Devils, he’s still a good pick for the team’s future.
Hughes showed some flashes of greatness last season, but overall his production was a disappointment. However, who should go ahead of him? Kaapo Kakko was also a disaster. Kirby Dach had some serious struggles before he looked good in the playoffs. Nobody else played regularly in the NHL. Kakko was supposed to be NHL ready this season. He only had two more points than Hughes.
Hughes could become one of the best players in the league. He showed flashes of why he can eventually become that. He was too small for the NHL last year. Hughes was railroaded on some plays. However, his skill is one of the best in the league. His ability to use his speed to his advantage is something that will help him once he can get around hits. Honestly, if Taylor Hall wasn’t frustrated so early, this could have been a natural partnership.
The season was just a mess, and nothing was going to save it. Hughes deserves a mulligan more than any player.