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Mon 17/06/2019 - 07:39 EDT

NHL Draft 2019 Odds & Top Picks

Hughes or Kakko?

It appears to be a two-horse race for the top pick heading into the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

Jack Hughes (-550) of the U.S. National Team Development Program is the overwhelming favorite to be selected by the New Jersey Devils in the draft, which will be held June 21-22 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver (NHL Draft Lottery Odds provided by Bovada).

Kaapo Kakko (+360) of TPS in the Finnish Liiga league is the consensus second pick in the Odds NHL Draft Lottery on most mock drafts. The rest of the entire draft field is pegged at +950 for the first overall pick.

  • Jack Hughes -550
  • Kaapo Kakko +360
  • Any Other Player +950

It’s the second time in three years that New Jersey will have the top draft pick. They also won the 2017 lottery, moving up four spots before picking center Nico Hischier.

It is the third time that Vancouver has been the site of the draft — Owen Nolan was picked first overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1990 and Erik Johnson went No. 1 to the St. Louis Blues in 2006.

Hughes

Devils Win the Lottery Again

The 15 teams in the NHL Standings that did not make the NHL playoffs all had a shot at gaining the top pick in the 2019 draft in the lottery held April 9 in Toronto.

The Colorado Avalanche, through a trade with the Ottawa Senators, had the best chance at 18.5 per cent. The rest of the Top 5 were as follows: Los Angeles Kings (13.5%), New Jersey Devils (11.5%), Detroit Red Wings (9.5%) and Buffalo Sabres (8.5%).

Even though they didn’t have the best odds, the Devils once again won the lottery and the first pick overall. The New York Rangers (7.5%) moved up to No. 2, while the Chicago Blackhawks (2.5%) slid in at No. 3. Colorado and Los Angeles round out the Top 5 picks in the first round of the draft.

Top Picks for 2019 NHL Draft

NHL teams are looking for foundational players in the first round of the draft, especially if they have the first pick overall.

The Edmonton Oilers were lucky enough to win the lottery and Connor McDavid in 2015. He became a star in his first year of play with the pro club. Steve Stamkos made the Tampa Bay Lightning into a legitimate contender when the OHL scoring machine was drafted in 2008.

So, who’s it going to be this year? The NHL Draft Lottery 2019 Odds have Jack Hughes as the next can’t-miss star. Let’s take a look at some of the top players in the 2019 class and try to pick the No. 1 selection:

Jack Hughes

18 years old, Center, U.S. Development Program.

Hughes is one of the smallest players available in the draft at 5-10 and 160 pounds, but he’s considered by most to be the best young talent in the world.

“A brilliant playmaker with elite skating ability and hockey sense, Hughes makes everyone around him better,” said ESPN’s Chris Peters.

He is the top line center in the U.S. program and the speedy skater has a terrific shot.

“I like to say I play like Patrick Kane a little bit, but I feel I’m more of a Mat Barzal in how I carve through the neutral zone, lug the puck, and find my teammates,” Hughes said. “I feel that’s more my game.”

Kakko

Kaapo Kakko

18 years old, Right wing, TPS Liiga League.

Only Mikael Granlund and Aleksander Barkov had better per-game scoring rates in Finland’s top pro league than Kakko has produced this season. At 6-2 and 194 pounds, the winger with game-breaking abilities has already proven he can perform against veteran players.

“An NHL-ready player who has honed his craft against pros, Kakko is good in all areas of the ice with few noticeable weaknesses,” Peters said.

Bowen Byram

18 years old, Defenseman, Vancouver WHL.

This Canadian, who controls the ice and moves the puck well, is considered the top defenseman in the draft. He had 71 points in 67 games last season and was the best player on his junior team. Byram was also the leading scorer in the WHL playoffs — a rare feat for a blueliner.

Vasily Podkolzin

17 years old, Right wing, Podolsk HC Rys.

This Russian-born player has the size and talent to make a big impact in the NHL, but some serious slumps this past year have caused his ranking to drop. The six-foot, 185-pound winger is also under contract with the KHL through the 2020-21 season, which is another reason why some NHL GMs may be hesitant in drafting Podkolzin.

Kirby Dach

18 years old, Right wing, Saskatoon WHL.

Size matters in every sport, not just the NHL. Dach is one of the bigger teenagers in the draft at 6-4 and 185 pounds. Add that to his above average speed and hockey IQ, and this playmaker is sure to be a force in the big leagues.

Alex Turcotte

18 years old, Left wing, U.S. Development Program

Like Hughes, Turcotte is another product of U.S. development who is quickly making his way up the rankings. The 5-11, 194-pound center is both a scoring and playmaker threat. The son of former NHLer Alfie Turcotte has impressed scouts with his two-way ability.

Pick — Hughes (-550). The U.S. program’s all-time leading scorer has a promising future ahead of him. Hughes is the complete package, even if he isn’t the biggest player on the ice.

See below the top sportsbooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you:

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