Jack Hughes understands that he and Kaapo Kakko will likely be seeing a lot more of one another once their NHL careers begin.
“I think it’ll be really competitive for a lot of years,” the presumptive first overall pick told the assembled media, including, before Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final in St. Louis on Monday.
Hughes has long been expected to be selected by theat the draft later this month. He was the top-ranked North American skater in ‘s final rankings.
Kakko, who was Central Scouting’s No. 1-ranked international skater at season’s end, is expected to be chosen second by the, although neither pick is a certainty.
“Whether it’s the Devils or the Rangers, we’re going to be linked to each other for a long time with us going to places so close to each other and maybe a little bit of a rivalry between the Devils and Rangers, so I think it’ll be a lot of fun for years to come,” Hughes said.
The Devils and Rangers both play in the Metropolitan Division. The 2019-20 schedule hasn’t yet been released, but the clubs will face off either four or five times during the regular season.
Hughes and Kakko have already battled on the international stage with the United States and Finland, respectively.
Kakko scored the late winner to defeat Hughes and the U.S. for the gold medal at the World Junior Hockey Championship last winter. He also outperformed Hughes at the World Championship in May, leading Finland to gold in that tournament with six goals and seven points in 10 games.
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