- Books have shortened the odds on Jack Hughes being the #1 pick in the 2019 NHL entry draft
- Hughes is now listed at odds of 1-12
- His previous odds were 1-4
Jack Hughes is pulling away from Kaapo Kakko in the race to be the first-overall pick in the 2019 NHL entry draft. Books have shifted the odds for the American considerably, and he is now the overwhelming favorite to go #1.
Previously, he was merely a huge favorite.
He’s gone from 1-4 to 1-12 in the NHL Draft odds. Kakko is a distant second at 6-1.
Who Will Be Picked First in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft?
|Who Will Be Picked 1st in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft?||Odds|
*Odds taken 06/17/19
If he’s selected first, Hughes will be the eighth American-born player to be chosen # 1, but only the second in the last 12 years, joining Auston Matthews in 2016.
The Facts About Jack
Over the past two season the 5-foot-10, 170-pound Hughes has completely shredded the record book for the US National Team Development Program (USNTDP). The past two campaigns saw him collect 228 points (74 goals, 154 assists) in 110 games.
“I want to be the first overall pick, that would be a dream come true.” -Jack Hughes pic.twitter.com/U2VHlRRqsn
— Amanda "Stay at Home" Stein (@amandacstein) May 31, 2019
That works out to an average of 2.07 points per game. By contrast, Auston Matthews scored 117 points in 60 games in his only full season with the USNTDP (2014-15), good for a 1.95 PPG average. He then lit up the NHL as a rookie with 40 goals in 82 games, winning the Calder Trophy in the process.
The Case For Kakko
Kakko turned heads at the World Championships, scoring six goals as Finland won the gold medal. In the same tournament, Hughes was limited to one assist, albeit in a more limited role for Team USA.
It’s easy to see why there’s such a groundswell of support for the Finnish star.
NHL Draft is Friday.
1. New Jersey- Jack Hughes
2. NY Rangers- Kaapo Kakko
3. Chicago- Alex Turcotte or Kirby Dach. Dach is big, right handed shot center. Tough call.
4. Colorado- Avs will likely take who Chicago doesn’t. pic.twitter.com/XDj75oasnt
— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) June 17, 2019
At 6-foot-2 and 194 pounds, Kakko is the prototypical power forward. His cycle game is strong. He can put the puck in the net and he’s already physically developed enough to compete against men.
Plus, he’s a winner. This past year, Kakko also picked up gold medals at the under-18 and under-20 world championships.
The Hughes Advantage
While he doesn’t yet possess the physical attributes of Kakko, where the edge goes to Hughes is in overall skill set and hockey IQ.
His skating is smooth and dynamic. In playmaking, scoring, hockey sense and creativity, Hughes is off the charts. The only thing quicker than his hands is the way his mind can see plays developing.
Top hockey people believe he’ll be the next Patrick Kane. TSN draft experts Bob McKenzie and Craig Button, who are more tuned into this process than anybody outside of actual team employees, both see Hughes going first overall.
It’s not by a wide margin but the edge remains with Hughes.
There’s no sense betting Hughes at this price. Unless you want to take a flyer on Kakko – and we think that’s a losing wager – you’d be best to hold your money and wait to see what sort of prop wagers the leading sportsbooks offer closer to draft day.