Who is Jack Hughes?
Since the New Jersey Devils will be selecting first overall in this year’s 2019 NHL Entry Draft, a lot of attention has gone to Jack Hughes, the no. 1 prospect. He broke the record for all time points with the U.S. Men’s National Development Program and most recently broke Alex Ovechkin’s record for points at the World U-18 Championships. But as Hughes sits at just 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, the concern for him has always been whether he can compete at the NHL level.
Why is He on Team USA?
Born in Orlando, Florida, Hughes was selected to play on the U.S. Men’s team for the World Championships, which conveniently has Devils head coach John Hynes on their staff, giving him the chance to get an up-close look at Hughes as a player. Other notable players include Patrick Kane, Jack Eichel, Johnny Gaudreau, and Devils’ goaltender Cory Schneider. The team played a pre-tournament game on Tuesday against the German men’s team in Mannheim, Germany, which they won 5-2. In that game, Hughes was slotted on the third line between the Flyers’ James Van Riemsdyk and Blackhawks’ star Alex Debrincat. Despite playing against grown men as a 17-year-old, Hughes finished with an assist and played a very impressive game. Watch #6 set up the play for the fourth U.S. goal
Notice he first entered the zone with speed and drew two defensemen towards him, setting up who else but Patrick Kane on a 3-on-1.
After the team failed to convert on that, Hughes kept his feet moving throughout the zone eventually dangling past the German defense to set up James Van Riemsdyk right in front.
Hughes as a Player
If you watched this game, even with it being against an inferior German team, you realized that it’s extremely likely New Jersey drafts Jack Hughes at #1 overall. The way he can create scoring chances for himself and others proves his hockey IQ is far beyond his years. Hughes is very cerebral in how he moves without the puck, maximizing his offensive efficiency and always finding scoring areas. Further, it seems whenever Hughes makes a mistake or turns the puck over he always hustles back to make amends.
Who to Watch at the Men’s World Championship
Lucky for us, the Men’s IIHF World Tournament actually begins today, May 10th. Jack Hughes, Cory Schneider, and the U.S. team will play Slovakia and Marian Studenic at 2:15PM Friday on NHL network. But watch for other Devils to shine in the tournament; Nico Hischier will play for Switzerland, Jesper Bratt for Sweden, Damon Severson and Mackenzie Blackwood for Team Canada. Lastly, if you’re slow to jump on the Jack Hughes bandwagon, the consensus #2 pick, Kaapo Kakko, will play for Team Finland at the World Championships, too.