31-in-31: New Jersey

Chris Wassel



Welcome to our annual 31-in-31 Summer Series here at DobberProspects! Every day in July we will be bringing you a complete breakdown of a team’s draft, notes from their development camp, and insights into their off-season moves so far. Following this up, the August 31-in-31 Series will dive into every team’s prospect depth charts with fantasy insights and implications for the upcoming seasons. Check in often, because we plan on filling your hockey withdrawal needs all summer long!



Two things will make the 2019 NHL Draft memorable for New Jersey. The first was drafting Jack Hughes as the number one pick. For those who doubt Hughes, just look back at the World Junior Championships and realize how dominant this player has been when given the proper ice time. Now, the second part was New Jersey trading a couple of draft picks and a seventh defenceman for P.K. Subban. New Jersey gained a top defender overnight for the cost of peanuts essentially. There were some nondescript picks, but New Jersey garnered some steals in the later portion of the draft that surprised a good amount of people. Those ends were great, but the middle was a little lean with some rough edges. 



Round 1 – Jack Hughes – 1st overall, C

It’s not every day that a team wins the lottery twice in three years. However, for Taylor Hall and the New Jersey Devils, this happened. 2017 resulted in the drafting of Nico Hischier and now in 2019, Jack Hughes. Hughes is a generational talent, and some will say not so fast but in time, the potential is undoubtedly there. For some early projectors to suggest Hughes may end up in the range of 60-70 points this season, that is saying something. The rookie center immediately bolsters a power-play that vanished for long parts of the schedule in 2018-19. This is a player who can take games over by playing keep-away with the puck. He can go from zero to full speed in no time flat. Also, Hughes has the rare ability to make players around him better. The pivot may not have been the consensus number one pick, but he was close. Again, there is that ability which he can fulfill. Watching him in person a couple of times, talking to him, and watching how he handled professional level play was quite eye-opening. 


Round 2 – Nikolai Okhotyuk – 61st Overall, D


After the first two picks of the second round were traded away, New Jersey selected at the tail end of round two. The defenseman has almost f