The Rangers' destinies are tied directly to the neighboring demons, and New Jersey general manager Ray Shero is content to be shy.
When Shero takes the podium to make the first pick of the 2019 NHL draft on June 21 in Vancouver, a selection ahead of Blueshirts general manager Jeff Gorton, he will have his choice between American prodigy Jack Hughes and Finnish striker Kaapo Kakko. . Despite the fact that most experts have had Hughes as the best option in recent years, Shero will not shake his hand for the time being.
"It has been ranked number 1 in many places," he said on Sportsnet's "31 Thoughts" podcast. "I've seen Jack play a lot … There are no statements, but I think I said that the opportunity to choose someone like Jack Hughes is fantastic.
"Now we have that opportunity and we'll see."
It is a strategy similar to the one that Shero used in 2017, when he had to choose between Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick with the No. 1 election, playing the course of action of the Demons near the vest before making Hischier the first Swiss player in go in the top slot. Those shrewd decisions that helped Shero obtain a multi-year extension despite the team finishing third in the NHL one season after making its first playoff appearance since 2012.
While Shero will keep the experts guessing as long as possible, the work for Gorton and Co. is reduced, at least, knowing that they will get one of the two best players available in the highly qualified Hughes or the physicist Kakko of two. tracks. Either of the two will accelerate the rebuilding efforts of the franchise.
"The opportunity to get a player of the caliber we're going to get is a great opportunity for us to move forward on this," Gorton told reporters after Tuesday's draw. "There's a lot to see and decide who's going to be number 2, or even number 1, we just have that option and we're excited about that." I know for our scouts and after having seen some of these players, it's a great draft and it's a great opportunity for us. "