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Setting the table for the New Jersey Devils on draft day

June 21, 2019, 11:07 AM ET [56 Comments]
Todd Cordell
New Jersey Devils Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
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Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko? After months of speculation, we're about to get our answer.

While there are surely a few teams out there that would choose Kakko 1st overall if they had the opportunity, I don't think the New Jersey Devils are one of them. Nor do I think they should be.

Hughes possesses high-end speed, puck skills, and is more dynamic through the neutral zone. He is perfectly built for the modern-game. He also plays a premium position, which is a nice little bonus.

I believe Hughes should be the pick, and I believe Hughes will be the pick.

As to what else the Devils could get up to, I have no doubt they'll be on the prowl looking to take advantage of teams in cap hell: Vegas, Tampa Bay, San Jose, Toronto...you know, the usual suspects.

One of the more intriguing targets from that group of teams – at least to me – is RW Nikita Gusev.

The 26-year-old is coming off an 82-point campaign (in 62 games!) with St Petersburg of the KHL, and has averaged well over a point per game across four seasons with the team.

He's exceptionally talented and perhaps looking for more money as a RFA than Vegas can afford to pay him. If that makes him available, he's a target I'd be all over.

Whatever the case may be, I expect the Devils to explore every avenue of improvement, with a top-6/9 winger and a top-4 defender being highest on the priority list.

We'll see what Ray Shero and co. can accomplish.

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