The 2019 NHL Draft lottery took place on Tuesday night, and it was the New Jersey Devils' card that flipped to lock in the No. 1 pick.
This is the second time in the last three years the Devils were awarded the top pick, as they landed it in 2017 as well. They spent it on Nico Hischier, who has collected 99 points over two years thus far.
After hearing the announcement, Devils GM Ray Shero couldn't be happier as he said "we need talent." That statement comes after a dismal Devils season where they finished last in the Eastern Conference with a 31-41-10 record.
"This is a huge part of getting more talent, obviously," Shero told NBCSN at the lottery. "This is a huge day for the Devils. Two years ago, picking Nico really was transformational for us, and it's a great day for our fans as well."
The top talent for Shero to choose from seems to be C Jack Hughes from the USA Hockey National Team Development Program under-18 team, and he is already close to the team having worked out with one of the Devils' top playmakers in Taylor Hall.
"I skate with Taylor Hall in the summers, he's been a really good guy to me, he's been really nice," Hughes told NBCSN at the lottery. "...I'd be honored and really happy to play for New Jersey one day. That'd be a great spot, I hear a lot of great things about that. I'd be really excited."
On the other hand, Finland's Kaapo Kakko is a right winger that some believe could be better than Hughes. He says "excellent offensive instincts," per NHL director of European Scouting Goran Stubb. He played for TPS of Liiga, which is Finland's top division.
"He could be NHL-ready as early as next season after playing two seasons (51 games) in the men's league," Stubb told NHL.com about the 6-foot-2, 194-pound Kakko.
However, Dan Marr, the director of NHL Central Scouting, believes Hughes (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) is that franchise-altering player the Devils are looking for.
"Jack is an elite skater who plays the game at top speed both with and without the puck, he sees the ice tremendously well and finds open space to create scoring chances," Marr told NHL.com. "He has a complete package of skills that suggest he will be a franchise NHL player and game-changer."
After the Devils, their crosstown rival New York Rangers received the No. 2 overall pick, while the Chicago Blackhawks jumped all the way from No. 12 to No. 3.
The 2019 NHL Draft will take place in Vancouver on June 21-22, and the Devils will be on the clock first.