×ÅÌÏÈÎÍÀÒ ÌÈÐÀ ÑÐÅÄÈ ÞÍÈÎÐÎÂ ÄÎ 19 ËÅÒ 2019 ÃÎÄÀ
Jack Hughes, possible Devils draft pick, to headline U18 World Championships
13 àïðåëÿ 2019 ãîäà. North Jersey.com. By Abbey Mastracco
Taylor Hall talks to the media about
the conclusion of the 2018-19 season and the knee injury that ended his
year early. Abbey Mastracco, Staff Writer, @AbbeyMastracco
The Jack Hughes hype machine may already be running on high but it’s
about to get kicked into high gear next week when Hughes leads Team USA
into battle at the IIHF Under-18 World Championship in Sweden.
In case you’ve been living under a hockey puck or you’re jumping on
either the Devils’ or Rangers’ bandwagons after finding out the two
teams are picking 1-2 in the 2019 NHL Draft, Hughes is the projected
first overall pick. The 17-year-old Orlando-born, Toronto-raised center
will undoubtedly be center stage when play officially begins on April
With exhibitions slated for this weekend (and Team USA already 0-1 in
the exhibition portion of the tournament), here’s a primer to get you
set for Hughes Palooza 2019.
Team USA fell in their first exhibition game Friday, losing to Finland
1-0. They’ll play one more exhibition contest Saturday in Finland, this
one against the Swiss team, before the official start of group play
Hughes met the team in Heinola, Finland, after making an appearance at
the draft lottery in Toronto on Tuesday night. Sweden hosts the
tournament in Ornskoldsvik. Team USA is in Group B for the preliminary
round and will face Sweden, Slovakia, Russia and Latvia. The
quarterfinal round will then begin April 25. All games are televised on
All eyes will be on Hughes. Kaapo Kakko, the Finnish phenom who is
projected to go No. 2 right now, will not be playing in the event. The
18-year-old winger who plays in Finland’s highest league, Liiga, will
be playing in the senior event in May. Kakko will be playing against
NHL players and some of the top international talent.
This is a big tournament for Hughes. He was injured during the World
Junior Championship a few months ago and didn’t get to show what he’s
fully capable of. But Hughes has been well-scouted. His excellent
skating and his ability to create offense out of nowhere has earned him
the reputation of a magician on the ice.
Hughes’ best asset may be his ability to make others around him better
on the ice. His linemate with the US National Team Development Program,
Cole Caulfield, has more goals (29) than Hughes (12) in the USHL this
season. Caulfield himself has become a projected first-round pick
despite his stature (5-foot-6, 150 pounds).
General manager Ray Shero has already said he will be traveling to
Sweden for the event in order to scout Hughes. New Jersey’s director of
amateur scouting, Paul Castron, has seen Hughes several times and has
been singing his praises for a year now, since the team brought in his
brother Quinn, a Vancouver Canucks rookie, for pre-draft interviews
By now you probably know the story of the Hughes family: Their father,
Jim, played at Providence College and briefly in Europe, while Shero
represented him as his agent. He made a name for himself in the head of
player development with the Toronto Maple Leafs and now works for agent
Pat Brisson at CAA. Their mother, Ellen, was a standout three-sport
athlete from New Hampshire and Hughes' youngest brother, Luke, plays on
the U.S. U17 team.
This tournament will last until late April if the U.S. advances to the gold medal game.
This is a mental grind as much as a physical one. Hughes will be
playing against players his own age but he’s thought to be on a whole
other level than most. He’s keeping a diary for NHL.com if you’re
interested in seeing his thoughts.
The NHL Draft will be held June 21-22 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.