Jack Hughes vs Kaapo Kakko- A True Test of Rookie Talent

Sam Nubile, Sports and Current Events Writer

It’s one of the fiercest rivals in all of professional hockey- the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers. Late last year, the New Jersey Devils won the NHL draft lottery, a process in which teams are awarded high draft picks. The Devils snagged the first overall pick, and the New York Rangers obtained the second overall pick. This, in turn, set the stage for an epic dual- the top two rookies facing off against each other for the first time. Last month, I attended the first game in which the top two rookies faced off- and the Devils prevailed. 


Allow me to set the stage. The date is October 17, 2019. The sun is just beginning to set above the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Thousands of fans dawning jerseys rush to enter the arena, anxious to be a part of history- the first time that Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko faceoff against one another. Just thirty short minutes later, the horn sounds, the national anthem is sang, and the puck is dropped at center ice. 


To say the least, the crowd was excited. The Devils had begun the season with a record of 0-4-2, while the Rangers were 2-1-0 at the time. Would the Devils finally be able to win a game? Would the momentum pertaining to the special occasion pay off? The answer to that question was yes. 


The Rangers struck first about six minutes into the first period, with Tony DeAngelo getting his first goal of the season and his career. Luckily, the Devils soon countered, putting the home fans at ease and evening the score at one goal a piece. The momentum only gained for the Devils, as both Kyle Palmeri and Miles Wood scored in the second period, ultimately putting the Devils up by two. The Rangers would score late in the third period, but the Devils snagged an empty-netter in the final minutes to secure the win. The final score was the New Jersey Devils five, New York Rangers two. 


The game was an important part of the Devils’ season. Not only did the team finally earn a win, but Jack Hughes proved himself as a worthy contender for rookie of the year. He obtained his first point in the game, and would later go on to score his first professional goal against the Canucks. As for Kappo Kakko, well, the chance for revenge will have to wait. The Devils faceoff against the Rangers once again on November 30, 2019.