Eventually, Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko will be entrenched in the Battle of the Hudson River.
For now, the two star prospects expected to be taken with the top two selections in June’s NHL draft — held by the Devils and Rangers in that order — will have to settle for the IIHF World Championships in Slovakia.
Hughes and Kakko faced off Monday as the United States took down Finland, 3-2 in overtime, though neither made much of a dent in their nearly solidified stocks.
The American Hughes, as he’s been for the last few years, remains the consensus No. 1 overall pick with Kakko right behind him, followed by the rest of the 2019 NHL draft class. Hughes played only 7:03 on Monday, while Kakko was on the ice for 18:01; neither put up any points.
That Hughes barely played shouldn’t raise eyebrows, given the loaded NHL talent surrounding the 17-year-old on the U.S.’s roster relative to the Finnish club. The two clashed during a couple instances, with the meatier Kakko (6-foot-1, 181 lbs) edging Hughes (5-foot-10, 166 lbs) for the puck amid a scramble.
Kakko has five goals in three tournament games, including a highlight reel add-on against Pittsburgh Penguins netminder Matt Murray and Team Canada. Hughes, who turns 18 Tuesday, has been held off the score sheet since breaking Alexander Ovechkin’s record for most points (32) at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
Plenty more head-to-head battles await, but as to which side of the Hudson they’ll be on remains a mystery. At least the Devils’ Twitter account is staying coy since both teams miraculously jumped up in the draft lottery.
“Feeling cute, might draft one of these guys later idk,” the club tweeted above a GIF of the two talents.
Source: Read Full Article