2019 NHL Draft Betting Odds: Who Will Be Selected at No. 1?
- Jack Hughes (-550)
- Kaapo Kakko (+360)
- The field (+950)
Like always, these NHL draft lottery odds are subject to change before the New Jersey Devils are on the clock. But our breakdown will prepare you for anything linemakers throw your way by going over all of the following:
- Analyzing the most up to date 2019 NHL draft lottery odds
- Complete NHL draft info
- Overview of potential No. 1 pick Jack Hughes
- Overview of potential No. 1 pick Kaapo Kakko
- Other NHL prospects to watch
2019 NHL Draft Betting Breakdown
- When: Friday, June 21 and Saturday, June 22.
- Where: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
- Start Time: 8 p.m. ET on Day 1 and 11 a.m. ET on Day 2.
- Venue: Rogers Arena.
Best Bets for the No. 1 Pick
Jack Hughes (-550)
Jack Hughes has been the overwhelming favorite to go No. 1 for quite some time. Many sportsbooks had him listed at a -400 before the draft order was ever set. He immediately moved to -550 (and higher) once the Devils slid into the top slot. They need a presence at center that badly.
Indeed, the Devils have a couple of centers under contract next year, in Travis Zajac and Blake Coleman, both of whom were their most-used players at the position last season. But Nico Hischier, their third-most used center, is entering restricted free agency, while Kevin Rooney will be an unrestricted free agent.
It would be wise to expect some level of turnover and, as a result, plenty of available ice time in the middle.
Even if the Devils bring everyone back, it may not stop them from taking Hughes. He just turned 18, amassed 118 total points in just 50 games this season and is widely credited with having great skating technique and expert passing abilities.
For a Devils squad that ranked in the bottom six of total goals scored this past season, adding Hughes’ playmaking—and to a lesser extent, scoring acumen—profiles as a much-needed long-term boon.
Kaapo Kakko (+360)
As much as the Devils could use a top-tier center prospect, they could use a big presence on the wing. Kaapo Kakko can provide just that.
Listed at 6’2″ and 194 pounds, the 18-year-old starred in Finland’s top league last season, during which time he compiled 22 goals through 45 appearances and established himself as a brutal force in the dirty-work areas.
New Jersey wouldn’t have to worry about Kakko shying away from cleanup duty. He is a whiz at following up teammates’ shots around the net and is unafraid to attack in traffic. And while the goal totals won’t always be there, he can put up points in a hurry. He tallied a team-high six goals when Finland won the World Championships.
It’s worth noting that some believe the New York Rangers, owners of the No. 2 pick, would take takko if they were in the Devils’ spot. That says a lot about this ceiling.
The Field (+950)
Truth told, the field would look a whole lot more appealing if the Rangers owned the No. 1 pick instead of the Devils. New York has plenty of centers on its docket, which would make them more likely to deviate from the Hughes or Kakko presumptions.
Bowen Byram, a 6’2″ defensemen, is worth keeping in mind as you place your bets. He has elite balance potential as both a passer and scorer. Still, he’s universally considered more of a raw prospect. The Devils need someone on a quicker timeline.
In previous years, Alex Turcotte would be getting a serious look at No. 1. His end-to-end motor is absurd, and he may wind up being a superstar scorer. But he’s already committed to the University of Wisconsin, so it’s tough to imagine anyone burning the first-overall selection on him when he’s possibly two years away from making his NHL debut.
NHL Draft Predictions
Here is OSB’s predictions for how the first seven spots of the NHL draft will play out:
- New Jersey Devils: Jack Hughes
- New York Rangers: Kaapo Kakko
- Chicago Blackhawks: Bowen Byram
- Colorado Avalanche: Kirby Dach
- Los Angeles Kings: Alex Turcotte
- Detroit Red Wings: Vasily Podkolzin
- Buffalo Sabres: Cole Caulfield
It ultimately doesn’t make sense to go against the oddsmakers here. Again: If it were another team with the No. 1 pick, perhaps we could talk ourselves out of Jack Hughes. But the Devils need a center, and as owners of the first overall selection, they’re more likely to gravitate toward the safe choice.
Yes, Kakko is considered more NHL-ready. But at the same time, team executives are sometimes more hesitant to journey outside traditional hockey powerhouses. Kakko is a dare-to-be great pick that could get you fired. That works in Hughes’ favor.
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