New Jersey Devils: Draft Lottery Marks New Chapter in Rangers Rivalry

12 April, 2019, 09:42 | Author: Isabel Grant
  • NHL draft lottery set with center Jack Hughes the prize

After winning Tuesday's NHL Draft Lottery, Ray Shero wouldn't confirm the New Jersey Devils plan to select center Jack Hughes first overall.

But the Devils, who own the first pick for the second time in three years, will nearly certainly draft Hughes come June 21 in Vancouver. The Avs, who received the pick via a trade with the Ottawa Senators, had the top odds to get the number one pick entering the evening, but the top pick went to the New Jersey Devils.

It's the second lottery win in three years for the Devils.

The New York Rangers will choose second at the draft - the team's first top-2 selection since 1966 when they grabbed future Hall of Fame defenceman Brad Park - after moving up from sixth.

The lottery for the draft pick order was held in Toronto and broadcast on NHL Network in the States and on SportsNet in Canada. "It's hard right after this to talk about it, because there are so many great young players in this draft ... certainly for us, we recognize that Jack's a great young player and it's just an exciting night for our franchise".

Their slim chance going into the lottery Tuesday night paid off, and they'll pick No. 3 after jumping from the 12th slot based on records.

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While recent clashes between the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers don't contain the ferocity of their encounters during late-90s and mid-late 00s, the Hudson-River Rivalry is still alive and well, despite both teams being in the midst of rebuilding.

Nearly certainly, that will be Finnish winger Kaapo Kakko, a big (6-2, 194), lefty shooting goal scorer who plays a bullish power game with high-end skill and an equally big compete level. It's the National Hockey League. I'd be honored to play for New Jersey one day.

One thing the Devils can apparently count on come lottery night is the same element the Edmonton Oilers used to have in their corner: some wild Taylor Hall voodoo.

"That was Nico's coming out party", said Shero, of the Swiss forward's dominance at the World Juniors in Montreal in 2017 that helped convince the Devils take him first overall when they won the lottery five months later.

Ottawa, which finished 31st in the overall standings, could have sent the team's first pick at last June's draft to Colorado, but decided instead to keep the selection before drafting winger Brady Tkachuk at No. 4. In this case, the Rangers are likely to select Kaapo Kakko.

Kakko is an 18-year-old Finnish winger who scored 22 goals in 45 games last year.

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