Jack Hughes Selected No. 1 Overall by New Jersey Devils in 2019 NHL Draft

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2019

VANCOUVER, BC - JANUARY 5: Jack Hughes #6 of the United States skates with the puck in Gold Medal hockey action of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship against Finland on January, 5, 2019 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Rich Lam/Getty Images

American center Jack Hughes was selected by the New Jersey Devils with the first overall pick in the 2019 NHL draft Friday.

Hughes was the top North American prospect, according to NHL.com.

The 18-year-old has been a points machine during his amateur career. He owns the U.S. National Development Program record with 228 career points. He tallied 86 points (23 goals and 63 assists) in 41 games during the 2018-19 regular season.

While he was listed at just 5'10" and 166 pounds earlier this year, his prolific scoring abilities gave him the edge over Finnish winger Kaapo Kakko and the rest of the field.

Despite entering the lottery with just an 11.5 percent chance of earning the top overall pick, the Devils landed the prize of the draft.

It was clear early on in the pre-draft process that New Jersey general manager Ray Shero had his eye on Hughes.

"He's an incredible skater," Shero said in April, per Abbey Mastracco of NorthJersey.com. "Both of the Hughes boys are are incredible talents, but with Jack, it's the awareness on the ice, the instincts, the speed, the change of speeds.

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"He's a very selfless player. And you can see that in the way his teammates and his linemates score more. He's a team player." 

Hughes made it clear on Sportsnet back in April that he would be "honored" to play for New Jersey, which he called a "great spot":

This marks New Jersey's second top pick in three years, as the team selected Nico Hischier first overall in 2017.

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