The New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers felt fortunate even before the NHL Draft Lottery results handed the former the first-overall pick and the latter No. 2. The Avs will have a top-five pick for the second time in three years and a top-10 pick for the fifth time in the last six years.
"He's our lottery guru", joked Devils GM Ray Shero.
Following coverage of the Draft Lottery, NBCSN will host a playoff preview show analyzing all of the Round 1 matchups of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Devils had the third-highest odds, 11.5 percent, for the top pick.
The Chicago Blackhawks, who had just a 2.5 percent chance for the top pick, made the biggest jump, moving up to third.
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.
This is the second time since 2017 that the Metro will hold the first and second overall picks. He's been a really good guy to me, really nice.
"I'm focused on playing in the National Hockey League next year", said Hughes, who turns 18 on May 14.
After the New Jersey Devils won the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery, I wrote a near-identical piece on how the outcome would redefine the Devils/Flyers rivalry.
Breathe a sigh of relief, Ottawa Senators fans.
The Colorado Avalanche will have the 4th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.
The presumed top selection in this year's draft is forward Jack Hughes, the brother of Quinn Hughes, who was selected No. 7 overall last year. In between those two national championships, Hall helped Canada win a silver medal on home ice at the World Juniors in Saskatoon; Team Canada lost in overtime to the USA, which included the Devils' Kyle Palmieri on its roster, to snap Canada's string of five consecutive gold medals at the event. Hughes also has elite vision, which combined with his shiftiness, allows him to exploit open ice and find teammates easily.
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. So it is possible that NJ who is picking 1st overall, may go that route instead of Jack Hughes.
While the sequential drafting of Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick has given a greater competitive edge to the Devils/Flyers rivalry, the impact Hughes and Kakko will have on the New Jersey Devils rivalry with the Rangers will be different. Kakko scored 22 goals, 38 points in 45 games for TPS in Finland, during a season in which he turned 18.
The 2019 NHL Entry Draft will take place on June 21.