The Rangers other possible draft choice, Jack Hughes

Hughes (photo:Rena Laverty)

It finally happened….the hockey gods were finally on the Rangers side. On the night of April 9th, 2019, the New York Rangers struck gold at the NHL’s Draft Lottery.

They moved from 6th to 2nd overall after a long, grueling year; a year that we rooted for losses, tanking, development, and growth. It is now a year that will end with a beautiful prize at the end of it.

As we all know, the 2019 draft consists of two elite talents at the top, and a drop off to pick number 3. The Rangers are extremely lucky to be able to get their hands on one of those talents. They are American born phenom centerman Jack Hughes, and Finnish superstar, Kaapo Kakko. In my opinion, the Devils will take Hughes with the first overall pick, leaving Kakko for the Rangers.

Before I dive into this, let me be clear in that I am extremely excited that the Rangers will be gifted with either Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko. Both are elite talents, and franchise altering players. They are homegrown talents that will be with their clubs for a very long time playing at an extremely high level.

Hughes’ Background

Jack Hughes is an American born kid from Orlando, Florida. He is the brother of 2018 7th overall pick Quinn Hughes. Quinn, as we have seen, is already making an impact with the young, fun Canucks club in just a handful of games. Jack played at the USNTDP and recently broke the record for most career points passing some elite talents in the forms of Clayton Keller, and Patrick Kane.

Hughes’ Game

The best part of Jack’s game is his skating ability. He can beat you up and down the ice, and has incredible stop-and-go talent. It is his edge work that really blows me away. There has not been a prospect that I have seen in the last handful of years that has the skating ability, and edge work that Hughes has.

The only person that I can compare him to is his brother. As mentioned before, Hughes can beat you up and down the ice, but he can also make defenders look silly with his edges. His ability to roll over on his edges and go east to west is absolutely phenomenal.

Hughes does not have a “bomb” of a shot, but he is a lethal scorer. He has a great release, and can pick any pocket. He also has a tremendous set of hands, and the combination of that with his skating ability puts defenders in a blender.

Hughes is a fantastic passer, going tape-to-tape all the time. There really are no flaws to Hughes’ game, and he is as good as advertised. If there were to be a knock on Jack, it would be his size, and ability to get to the net and get dirty goals. That does not matter for Hughes because of how extremely fast, and skilled he is. Just look at Tampa’s Brayden Point. He is an undersized centerman, but he is doing just fine. Point finished the year with 41 goals, and 92 points this year. Let’s take a look at some of Hughes’ highlights.

Let’s start with the first clip. Hughes reads a turnover in the offensive zone and comes down the middle of the ice. His teammate puts it on his tape at the blue line and Hughes uses his acceleration and edges to move through the defenders. He gets down near the goal line and snipes one top shelf on the goaltender. A near impossible save on a ridiculous shot. Next, let’s look at the sequence starting at 2 minutes. He makes a pass that leads to a shot, then comes cross ice and collects the rebound. He then does his best Mat Barzal impression and goes around the horn with the puck untouched and lets off a shot. Absolutely incredible sequence. There are plenty of great highlights of the American center in the video so check them out!

Hughes’ Statistics

USNTDP 2018 – 2019 – 41 games – 23 goals – 63 assists – 86 points

PS – The Rangers will finally have their own homegrown special prospect. It is about damn time!!!