Devils Take Hughes First Overall

Twenty-nine years ago at the 1990 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver, the Devils’ fortunes changed forever as they picked Martin Brodeur 20th overall. Tonight, New Jersey hopes their future will be changed once again as they made the first overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft from the same city. They chose Jack Hughes with that pick.

Hughes, a center who, according to Chris Wescott of, was born in Orlando, Florida, was taken from the US National Development Program. He just turned 18 years-old during the World Championship and stands 5-feet, 10-inches tall, weighing in at 171 pounds. Of course vitals like that are useless since he will still grow into his frame and fill out as he gets physically stronger.

He was ranked as the top North American skater by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau at both the midterm and final rankings according to Wescott.

Wescott said that Hughes posted 34 goals and 78 assists (112 points) in an amazing 50 games for the USA U-18 team. He also mentioned that Hughes was on the American team at the World Junior Championship, captaining the US and scoring 20 points in seven games (nine goals/11 assists).

So what are the Devils getting with this pick? According to, he brings “(e)lite skating, hockey sense and skill.” He “has most attributes you look for in a star player. A very agile player with incredible speed. He is also equipped with fast hands and his puck handling along with his skating allows him to regularly beat (a) player one-on-one.”

NBCSN’s broadcast team, including Bob McKenzie and Pierre McGuire compared his upside to Steve Yzerman, Johnny Gaudreau and Patrick Kane.

This is lofty praise to be sure, but Hughes was bred for this. Both his mother Jim and his mother Ellen played college hockey. His father at Providence College and his mother at the University of New Hampshire. His older brother Quinn plays for the Vancouver Canucks and his younger brother Luke is a highly touted prospect of his own (eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft).

What Hughes brings to the Devils is speed, great skating ability, and playmaking. The NBCSN broadcast mentioned how he simply makes his linemates better., via EliteProspects put it nicely with this quote about his skating: “His edge work, agility, elusiveness, acceleration and top-gear are elite.”

Summing up his playmaking skills, Future Considerations (also via EliteProspects) said: “His playmaking abilities are exceptional and he’s so poised with the puck, he always makes smart decisions.”

But all of that aside, Hughes seems to be all in. When interviewed by NBCSN following the pick, he seemed like he wanted to start right then. He said that he was “happy to be a Devil” and was chomping at the bit to get going.

Coincidentally, this Jack Hughes is not the first Jack Hughes to play for this franchise. The Colorado Rockies, according to, picked a Jack Hughes in the 9th round, 142nd overall in the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft. He played a total of 46 games (all for the Rockies) between 1980 and 1982, scoring two goals and five assists for seven points. Hopefully this Jack Hughes makes a bigger mark on the franchise.

In other news, the Devils will be opening the season at home on Friday, October 4 against the Winnipeg Jets. The full schedule is to come later next week.

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