Luke Hughes, LHD:
General Manager, Tom Fitzgerald of the New Jersey Devils selected a very young mobile skating, and high-scoring offensive-defenseman in Luke Hughes the baby brother to Jack and Luke Hughes of the New Jersey Devils, and the Vancouver Canucks. One of the key takeaways Luke achieved in his Draft plus-one season at Michigan was scoring 17 goals and 39 points in 41 games played as a freshman defenseman. Luke’s mobility is a huge asset that can help convert him to a 2-way defenseman.
In the current NHL younger players are totaling up more Time On Ice on average given their reliability and durability. Given the fact players like Esa Lindell and Miro Heiskanen are very mobile puck-carrying minute munchers, they also are very well positioned to score 15-35 points a season. If Luke Hughes in his rookie season puts up a high amount of points and learns to be more defensive-minded then the quality and defense depth becomes even more of a strength.
Luke has the ability and the potential to become a top pairing defenseman with the New Jersey Devils when the time comes. There's no need for him to be rushed onto the scene but possibly takes a similar path Cale Makar took when he left UMass-Amherst for Colorado. The same could occur with Luke Hughes, but he will develop in his way. By the time Luke Hughes comes up his coaching staff with Andrew Brunette around with Lindy Ruff, and Ryan McGill to help ease Luke into his first season in the NHL.
Simon Nemec, RHD:
After the New Jersey Devils selected the top available defenseman on their draft board, and Nemec has been playing pro hockey in Slovakia since age 15. For guys like Simon who are accustomed to a bigger ice surface, and playing a lot of international games versus former and current NHL players this is great for an 18-year-old defenseman.
The intentions of Simon Nemec coming over to play in North America more specifically the Utica Comets in the AHL, or getting in nine games minimal with the New Jersey Devils at the NHL level. If the Slovak defenseman himself impresses everyone in camp and pre-season he would help pair up perfectly with Luke Hughes. Simon Nemec is a 200-foot two-way game defender on the right side, and Luke is more of the puck rusher but would benefit from that balance on offensive and defensive breakouts.
The aspects of Simon’s game like his thought process will help him escape the fast and physical skaters in North America. His passing and skating are very well NHL ready and the way he quarterbacks the offense and especially the power plays. In Slovakia, he was more of a distributor on the assists column. In the playoffs in the Slovak pro league, he turned up the goal-scoring another notch. Overall don’t expect the Slovak native to score a lot of goals, on the other hand, expect him to make the more clutch points when it matters.