Prior to the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the NHL held its annual Draft Lottery Selection Show. And with a little luck of the Irish, the ping bong balls dropped in the favor of the New Jersey Devils.
For the second time in three years, the New Jersey Devils will own the first pick in the NHL Entry Draft. The Devils moved up from the three position from the number one position.
NHL Metro Division Notebook: Devils Win Draft Lottery
During exit meetings on Monday, Devils General Manager Ray Shero made it clear his team needs to accumulate more talent. The Devils took another step in that direction after the results on Tuesday night.
Drafting at the first position allows the Devils to either pick American Jack Hughes or Kappo Kakko from Finland. Hughes brings a package of elite offensive skill, imagination and the will to compete every time he hits the ice. One comparable to the style of Jack Hughes has been Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks.
While Kakko is being compared to players like Fillip Forsberg (NSH), Aleksander Barkov (FLA), and Sebastian Aho (CAR). Kakko has the ability to rip a shot from anywhere on the ice. The Finnish winger plays with skill, power, and will and made a name for himself during the 2019 World Juniors. Both players could be playing for their respective clubs come the IIHF World Championships in May.
The Devils are taking the necessary steps in the right direction as the team continues to rebuild. New Jersey Devils ownership is happy with the direction the team is going. After giving John Hynes a new contract extension in January, the Devils followed that up by announcing they were extending Shero as well.
Ownership believes in the process Shero and his staff has put worth with the Devils. While the Devils did a step back this season, management is building a winner for the future. Rebuilds do not happen overnight. Getting Hughes or Kakko will bring even more talent to the Devils.
Not to mention of course the Taylor Hall Effect. Since being drafted first overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2010, the team Hall has been on has won the lottery five of nine years. Also, Hall has worked out with Hughes in the off-season. He would be a welcome addition to the Devils organization.
With the NHL Draft taking place in Vancouver in June, the Devils will be one of the major players. The Devils have 10 draft picks in this year’s draft, including six in the first three rounds. They also have eight draft picks in 2020 and seven in 2021.
Of course, the number one selection came down between two Metro Division rivals in the Devils and Rangers, who will select second overall at the NHL Draft in June. Hughes and Kakko will now be apart of the Hudson River Rivalry.
Another big winner from that was Chicago who went from 12th to 3rd. The Blackhawks had the biggest jump of the night. Colorado, who owns Ottawa’s first round draft pick this year, will pick fourth.
Get ready for an exciting off-season.