2019 NHL mock draft: Chris Peters' final first-round predictions


The final mock ahead of the NHL draft is always the most difficult to pin down. At this stage, teams are tightening up their information, with smokescreens and misdirection thrown out into the public space to shake things up. And the wide range of opinions on this 2019 draft class makes it even trickier.

Here's my final prediction for how Friday's first round will go, not necessarily how I think it should go. The Devils are on the clock ...

Top 100 rankings | Best goalies | Late-rounders
Best by skill | Risers | Draft order

1. New Jersey Devils

Jack Hughes, C, USA U18 (NTDP)

The Devils get their franchise center and an easily marketable star all wrapped into one. The temptation of Kaapo Kakko is real, but Hughes' elite skating and skill are too tantalizing to pass up.

2. New York Rangers

Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (Finland)

The Rangers land a franchise cornerstone with an NHL-ready game. With high-end hockey sense and a frame that allows him to win a lot of battles in the hard areas, he could be an instant-impact player.

3. Chicago Blackhawks