Button's Post-Lottery Mock Draft: Hughes will fit right in with Devils
USNTDP centre Jack Hughes tops Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters for the 2019 NHL Draft.
Hughes is the first NTDP player to be ranked No. 1 on Central Scouting’s final North American list since defenceman Erik Johnson in 2006, who was chosen first overall by the St. Louis Blues that same year. If chosen first overall, Hughes would become the eighth American to be selected with the top pick.
He leads the NTDP with 86 points (23 goals, 63 assists) in 41 games and owns the program record in assists (139) and points (202) in his two seasons with the NTDP. Joining Hughes from the NTDP on Central Scouting’s list are Alex Turcotte (No. 4), Trevor Zegras (No. 5), Cole Caufield (No. 8), Matthew Boldy (No. 9), Cameron York (No. 12) and Spencer Knight, the No. 1 ranked goalie.
Along with Hughes and Turcotte in the top five are three players from the WHL. Vancouver Giants defenceman Bowen Byram is No. 2, followed by forward Kirby Dach of the Saskatoon Blades (No. 3) and Lethbridge Hurricanes centre Dylan Cozens at (No. 5).
Finland’s Kaapo Kakko headlines Central Scouting’s final ranking for European skaters. Kakko recorded 22 goals in 45 games in Liiga this season, a record for a first-time draft-eligible player, one more than Aleksander Barkov’s previous record of 21. Rounding out the top five International skaters list are winger Vasily Podkolzin (No. 2) and defencemen Victor Soderstrom (No. 3), Ville Heinola (No. 4) and Philip Broberg (No.5).
The 2019 NHL Draft will be held in Vancouver at Rogers Arena on June 21-22. The New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks own the first three selections.