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After finishing 29th in the NHL, the New Jersey Devils won the lottery and secured the #1 selection for the 2019 Draft. With the draft taking place on June 21st, the Devils selected Nico Hischier with the #1 overall selection back in 2017.
After a season lingering with injuries, Taylor Hall played only 33 games due to a torn meniscus in his left knee. In addition, Corey Schneider posted a record of 6-13-4, 3.06 GAA, and a save percentage of .903. While Keith Kinkaid and Mackenzie Blackwood attempted to salvage the season, New Jersey coming up short would be an understatement.
The obvious choice among potential prospects would be Jack Hughes out of the United States National Development Team. In his 3 seasons, the draft stock for Hughes has inclined. With the ability to score 20+ goals per season, Hughes is just as efficient when it comes to passing.
This season, The New Jersey Devils struggled to score, averaging 2.67 goals per game; which ranked 26th in the NHL. The year prior, the Devils averaged 2.96 goals per game; 15th in the NHL. Despite the offensive struggles, the team has talent in names such as Nico Hischier, Taylor Hall, Jesper Bratt, and Kyle Palmieri. With the upside at hand, adding a prospect such as Hughes could bring their offense into full-circle.
Pairing Hughes alongside a centerpiece in Nico Hischier would be the smartest strategy moving forward for the Devils. In fact, it’s almost encouraged to keep Hughes at his natural position, instead of forcing him to adapt elsewhere. Although the team has a need at the goalie position, Mackenzie Blackwood will be solid enough to be given a chance to become the starter next season and a player like Hughes is way too valuable to pass up on.
Featured Image: USA Hockey