2019 NHL DRAFT
When: Round 1, 7 p.m. Friday; Rounds 2-7, noon Saturday
Where: Rogers Arena in Vancouver
TV: NBCSN (Friday) and NHL Network (Saturday)
Wild picks: First round (12th overall), second round (42nd), third round (73rd), fourth round (99th, acquired in Charlie Coyle trade from Boston), fifth round (149th, acquired in Mike Reilly trade from Montreal), sixth round (166th, 172nd acquired in Brad Hunt trade from Vegas), seventh round (197th)
1. New Jersey
2. N.Y. Rangers
4. Colorado (from Ottawa)
5. Los Angeles
19. Ottawa (from Columbus)
20. Winnipeg (from N.Y. Rangers)
22. Los Angeles (from Toronto)
23. N.Y. Islanders
27. Tampa Bay
29. Anaheim (from S.J. via Buffalo)
31. Buffalo (from St. Louis)
Who’s No. 1?
The New Jersey Devils will pick first for the second time in three years after the lottery balls fell in their favor in April — bumping the franchise up to the top spot from No. 3.
The Devils, who picked center Nico Hischier in 2017, are expected to select American center Jack Hughes first overall, leaving Finnish winger Kaapo Kakko for the New York Rangers, who will be making their first top-two selection since 1966.
The Chicago Blackhawks, the lottery night’s other big winner, picks third and will get a nice boost to aid its turnaround after missing the playoffs the past two seasons.
Hughes, who turned 18 on May 14, is rated as the top North American prospect by the NHL Central Scouting Services. He could become the second player to be chosen first overall directly out of the U.S. National Team Development Program — and the first to go right to the NHL — after the St. Louis Blues took former Gophers defenseman Erik Johnson at No. 1 in 2006.
He delivered a record-breaking performance at the under-18 world championship in April. Hughes had nine goals and 11 assists as he helped the Americans to the bronze medal, behind Sweden, the champion and the host, and Russia. He had a total of 32 career points at the event, surpassing Alex Ovechkin’s record of 31, set in 2003.
The 18-year-old Kakko, the top-ranked European prospect, played this past season in the Finnish Elite League, earning 22 goals and 16 assists in 45 games to win the rookie scoring title. He did not participate in this year’s under-18 tournament, instead preparing with the men’s national team for the world championship. Kakko had six goals in 10 games as Finland won gold.
If Kakko does go first overall, he’d become the first Finnish player to be selected No. 1.
Hughes, at 5-10 and 170 pounds, is 4 inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter than Kakko.
Another member of the U.S. National Team Development Program, Spencer Knight (6-3, 193 pounds), could become the first goaltender chosen among the top 20 selections since Andrei Vasilevskiy went No. 19 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2012. Knight is the No. 1-ranked North American goalie by NHL Central Scouting.