The Devils selected center Jack Hughes with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft on Friday.
He'll likely become the first-ever player to make the jump straight from the USA Hockey National Team Development Program to the NHL.
Here are six facts to know about the 18-year-old Hughes.
- In stints with the U-17 and U-18 NTDP teams, he finished with 228 points and 154 assists, both of which are program records. He's the only player in the programs history to have reached the 200-point mark, and is 32 assists ahead of the second all-time spot (Jeremy Bracco). In international play at the IIHF U-18 Men's World Championship, he surpassed Alex Ovechkin as the tournament's all-time leading scorer (32).
- As the youngest player on the NTDP roster last season, he accumulated 34 goals and 78 assists, good for 112 points through 50 games (2.2 points per game). Additionally, he was named captain for both the U-17 and U-18 squads in his time with the programs.
- He carries a smaller frame than that of a typical center, coming in at 5-foot-10, 170 lbs. His build is similar to that of Patrick Kane, another undersized American drafted No. 1 overall.
- When speaking to Gare Joyce of Sportsnet, here's what one lottery team scout said of Hughes' potential: "You can't help but project him into your lineup. He's the one player [in this class] who changes everything with your franchise for five or 10 years. You're banking information for everyone on the ice but you're also only human. At some point you're thinking, 'What could he do for us?'"
- He's the first American drafted No. 1 overall since Auston Matthews in 2016, and just the fifth in the last 19 years (Kane, Erik Johnson, Rick DiPietro).
- His family has a history of hockey, as his father Jim played at Providence College and his mother, Ellen, skated with the University of New Hampshire's team before earning a silver medal with the 1992 U.S. women's national team in the IIHF Championship. His brother, Quinn, was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft (seventh overall). His 15-year-old brother, Luke, also plays.