Craig Button of TSN takes an early look at the top prospects for the 2019 draft, and leading the pack is Jack Hughes. We’ve mentioned Hughes before at PHR, but his name continues to come up as a potential first-overall pick in the 2019 discussion. The son of former NHL assistant coach and Toronto Maple Leafs Director of Player Development Jim Hughes, the 16-year old is dominating in the US Development Program after an eye-opening season in Toronto midget hockey.
Hughes scored 159 points in 80 games as the captain of the Toronto Marlboros, and is an elite center ice prospect. Amazingly the Hughes family even has a chance to go top-5 in back to back drafts, as eldest brother Quinton Hughes is an outstanding defenseman eligible to be selected in 2018. He’s playing at the University of Michigan already, where he’s put up five points in eight games.
- The Anaheim Ducks have placed Ondrej Kase on injured reserve to join the rest of their injuries, which brings to mind an interesting case going into next summer. Kase is a pending restricted free agent, and has looked early on this season like he’s about to breakout. As a rookie last year he scored just 15 points, but he already has five goals and eight points in 12 games for the injury-ravaged Ducks. Anaheim has over $60MM owed next season to just 13 players, which is going to make things tough in the summer. Kase, Nick Ritchie and Brandon Montour (among others) are all RFAs, and with the injuries all three have been given more opportunity. That could cost the Ducks as the trio heads into the summer with higher counting stats. Too many good players is never a bad thing, but Anaheim will need to be careful with how they distribute their funds.
- Speaking of injured reserve stints, the Montreal Canadiens have moved Carey Price to their IR list. Price hasn’t played since November 2nd so he won’t be kept out any longer than he needs to recover, as the stint will be backdated to cover the seven-day minimum. While you never wish for injury, perhaps this break will be exactly what Price needs to get his season back on track. In his first 11 games, Price registered a save percentage above .900 just three times. For a goaltender who averaged a .928 mark over the last four seasons, his performance so far this year was shockingly unfamiliar.