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Vancouver Canucks to host 2019 NHL Draft

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While it remains to be seen if Rogers Arena will have hockey games played there in June 2019, the NHL will be setting up shop at the rink for next year’s entry draft on the 21st and 22nd of that month as the franchise celebrates its 50th season. Commissioner Gary Bettman was on hand in Vancouver on Wednesday to make the announcement official.

(If you want to feel old, the majority of players who will be selected that weekend were born in 2001.)

At the moment, the Canucks own all seven of their selections for the 2019 draft. That could change, of course, depending on how general manager Jim Benning decides to move forward with his rebuild.

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The Canucks last hosted the draft in 2006, which saw Erik Johnson, Jordan Staal, Jonathan Toews, Nicklas Backstrom and Phil Kessel go in the top five and Mathieu Perreault (No. 177) and Leo Komarov (No. 180) go late in the sixth round. Defenseman Alex Biega, who the Canucks gave a two-year extension to on Wednesday, went No. 147 to the Buffalo Sabres.

That was also the weekend that the Canucks acquired Roberto Luongo from the Florida Panthers and the Toronto Maple Leafs traded Tuukka Rask for Andrew Raycroft.

Rogers Arena will also host the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, so fans can get a look at top prospects like Jack Hughes, Bowen Byram, Dylan Cozens, Kaapo Kakko and Cole Caulfield before they become property of NHL franchises.

The 2018 NHL draft will be held at American Airlines Center in Dallas June 22-23.

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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.

Jack Hughes, 2019 NHL top prospect, scores brilliant solo goal (Video)

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USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program side is off to a great start in the United States Hockey League this season. They’ve won their first four games, are the highest scoring team in the league (27) and may have already locked up goal of the season.

Jack Hughes, a 2019 NHL draft prospect, made the Green Bay Gamblers defense look mighty silly during a 6-4 win on Sunday afternoon.

At first watch, if you’re strictly paying attention to Hughes, you might think Team USA is on a power play. But then you realize there are five skaters in black despite what seems like a lot of space for the 16-year-old to work with.

Hughes, who’s tied for second in league scoring with seven points, finished with three points on the afternoon and is already being dubbed the “Next One.” We’ll be hearing a lot of his name over the next year and a half as June 2019 approaches.

“He’s a special player,” said Barrie Colts head coach Dale Hawerchuk to the Toronto Sun’s Mike Traikos last spring. Hawerchuk had planned on taking Hughes No. 1 overall in last year’s OHL draft before he decided to go the NTDP route. “He’s so fast and a such a great skater. But he’s also got great instincts. He thinks the game on another level.”

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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.