New Jersey Devils take Jack Hughes with No. 1 overall pick

VANCOUVER — The New Jersey Devils used the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft to select Jack Hughes from the United States National Team Development Program Friday night at Rogers Arena.

Atop the draft projections and scouting rankings all season long, Hughes is the second No. 1 overall pick by the Devils in the last three seasons following Nico Hischier’s selection in 2017. He’s now the eighth American to be taken first overall and only the second player chosen in that spot since Patrick Kane in 2007.

The 18-year-old Hughes was a prolific scorer during his time with the USNTDP. He broke Clayton Keller’s points record with 228 in 110 career games.  Internationally, he represented the U.S. at two U18 World Championships, winning silver and bronze, and led the tournament in scoring both times while earning MVP honors in 2018. He also helped the Americans to silver at 2019 World Junior Championship and played seven games at the World Championship this spring.

During that experience at the World Championship, Hughes was able to play with Kane, the player who he’s compared to a lot. The Chicago Blackhawks star had nothing but high praise for the young forward.

“I feel like when smaller players come into the League and they have that offensive- type game, it seems to be easy to compare them to a guy like me,” Kane said. “But I think he does a lot of things better than me, to be honest with you. He’s always moving, always skating, and even if he’s not near the puck or the action, he’s still got his speed and he’s coming into the zone or coming into the action with a lot of movement and speed.”

Hughes’ older brother Quinn was chosen seventh overall last year by the Vancouver Canucks. Younger brother Luke will play for the USNTDP next season and is draft eligible in 2021.

MORE: Jack Hughes and the impact of USA Hockey

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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