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Hughes and Kakko at the Halfway Mark


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So the Devils and Rags have both played 41 games exactly and these two couldn’t be any closer at this point. The whole “Kakko is far more NHL ready” doesn’t seem like it was all that accurate.

 

Hughes 36 GP 6 G 10 A 16 P -10

Kakko 37 GP 7 G 9 A 16 P -15 

 

Kakko’s shooting % is a bit higher at 11.3 (62 shots) to Hughes’ 7.8% (77 shots). Hughes has 2 GWG to Kakko’s 1. Hughes has an ATOI of 15:58 to Kakko’s 15:05. Kakko has a few more PPP (10) to Hughes (6).
 

I know I’m obviously biased, but just going off the eye test Hughes has been more impressive to me. But I thought it’d be interesting to see exactly how they are doing compared to each other so far. Hopefully the injury to Hughes isn’t too serious and he gets back soon so we can compare their full seasons in the spring. 

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3 minutes ago, DevilMinder said:

Imagine if Hughes had high end wingers all season. hopefully next season he has at least one quality one.

Jack has to earn it.  he needs to value the puck a bit more, imo.... 

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Neither coming close to the hype going into the season by many around the league.

Way too early to really know how they end up after a few years.

Kakko definitely isn't earning nor is he being gifted top six mins from Quinn. Hughes seems to be tougher mentally thank Kakko riding out the ups and downs of being a rookie in the league.  Kakko maybe better off in the AHL for now.  Don't feel that way about Jack at all.

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The two are definitely close.  I think people saying Kaako was more NHL-ready makes Jack look like he's having the better season, since he's younger and smaller, and arguably had a bit more pressure since he was the #1 and also had more buzz around him (plus having a brother in the league already).  Overall though, a pretty small sample size still, and they both have room to grow.  Hughes will continue to get opportunities and ice time on our team, so I hope he can use that to his advantage and really develop into a solid player in the next year or two. 

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16 hours ago, titans04 said:

Neither coming close to the hype going into the season by many around the league.

Way too early to really know how they end up after a few years.

Kakko definitely isn't earning nor is he being gifted top six mins from Quinn. Hughes seems to be tougher mentally thank Kakko riding out the ups and downs of being a rookie in the league.  Kakko maybe better off in the AHL for now.  Don't feel that way about Jack at all.

I don’t think Jack had that much crazy hype. Barely any preseason lists had him on Calder watch. He was always the guy that was gonna “take longer” than Kakko to get going. 
 

Kakko was supposed to step in and pot 40 goals, though. So — lol.

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3 hours ago, MB3 said:

I don’t think Jack had that much crazy hype. Barely any preseason lists had him on Calder watch. He was always the guy that was gonna “take longer” than Kakko to get going. 
 

Kakko was supposed to step in and pot 40 goals, though. So — lol.

Exactly.  It seemed like all the talk around the draft and the world championships was how Kakko was going to come right in and tear the NHL a new one because he had already been playing against men while Hughes was just a little boy playing against other pimple faced teenagers.   Kinda funny to see them so even at this point in their first season.   

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We are biased, BUT my expectation (and many who were looking at the two players objectively) was that Kakko would maybe have the better first 1 or 2 seasons, while Hughes has the higher ceiling and more dangerous weapons over time. I personally bought into the "Kakko is ready to play with men" argument, Rangers fans can be delusional, but you look at the two players' bulk and that was a pretty straightforward prediction. Many expectations were also that Kakko would definitely score more goals while Hughes was the playmaker who'd rack up more assists; fair predictions in my opinion.

They're neck and neck which speaks better to Hughes than it does to Kakko. 15-25 pts is what I would've pegged Hughes to be at this point of the season, whereas Kaapo "more NHL ready" Kakko I thought would be closer to 25-30. I could be wrong but I think Kakko was given significant time with Panarin where he wasn't converting. 10 of his 16 points were on the PP and he has fewer goals than Hughes,  whereas so much of Hughes style of play is playmaking, and so much of what's been wrong with our team this season has been lack of finish (his linemates miss on so many tremendous opportunities he creates for them).

...So all of that together, and I think the objective grade is that Hughes is maybe where people thought he would be, while Kakko is a little bit behind. Neither is lighting up the league or in the running for the Calder, but comparing just the 2 against each other, I think Hughes has had the more positive start. Kakko has shown a few reasons for concern.

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Yeah i was also sure Kakko would produce a lot more right away vs Hughes. 

And obviously we've seen Hughes play and we know how many close goals he had or how often he was stolen a goal. The same may be true with Kakko tho

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OK. Too lazy to look it up but pretty sure there was a ton of higher expectations for Jack. Something along the lines of the best US born draft choice in a really long time. Forget all about Kakko, not sure there were many looking at Jack having this kind of start. 

Hopefully he'll continue to grow and over time gap Kakko. 

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56 minutes ago, titans04 said:

OK. Too lazy to look it up but pretty sure there was a ton of higher expectations for Jack. Something along the lines of the best US born draft choice in a really long time. Forget all about Kakko, not sure there were many looking at Jack having this kind of start. 

Hopefully he'll continue to grow and over time gap Kakko. 

If he had decent linemates he would have a lot more points.

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45 minutes ago, Satans Hockey said:

If he had decent linemates he would have a lot more points.

True but that can be said about almost every forward/center in the league.  😀

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1 hour ago, Satans Hockey said:

If he had decent linemates he would have a lot more points.

Seriously. He’s been with the player formerly known as Wayne Simmonds and Miles Wood...

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11 hours ago, NJDfan1711 said:

The two are definitely close.  I think people saying Kaako was more NHL-ready makes Jack look like he's having the better season

I was thinking the same thing. Everyone was certain Kakko was more ready to “play against men”. 

Not true thus far. If we can get Jack on Nico’s conditioning program, he’ll be a hell of a player in a year or two. 

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12 hours ago, mfitz804 said:

I was thinking the same thing. Everyone was certain Kakko was more ready to “play against men”. 

Not true thus far. If we can get Jack on Nico’s conditioning program, he’ll be a hell of a player in a year or two. 

That's a good point.  A lot of people noticed, through no fault of his own, that Nico was somewhat undersized his first and maybe even second year in the league - constantly getting pushed around and out-battled for pucks - and now no one mentions that at all, and he seems to be much more confident out there and able to use his body appropriately.  I hadn't really thought of that with Jack, but you're right, as he continues to grow into his body a little bit and fills out over the next year or two, he may in fact start shaping into a player a lot like Nico, and possibly better (hopefully). 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, NJDfan1711 said:

That's a good point.  A lot of people noticed, through no fault of his own, that Nico was somewhat undersized his first and maybe even second year in the league - constantly getting pushed around and out-battled for pucks - and now no one mentions that at all, and he seems to be much more confident out there and able to use his body appropriately.  I hadn't really thought of that with Jack, but you're right, as he continues to grow into his body a little bit and fills out over the next year or two, he may in fact start shaping into a player a lot like Nico, and possibly better (hopefully). 

That is just not true at all. It was not even close to “constantly.” In fact, for his size he was quite strong on the puck early on. I remember a play either his rookie season (or was it last season?) where he completely outmuscled Evgeni Malkin and stripped the puck away from him. He made far more plays like that his first couple years than ones where he got straight up schooled.

Hughes isn’t quite as strong as Nico was his 1st year, but they also play pretty different games. Jack is probably never going to be effective as Nico is with his 2-way game, but what he lacks in size and strength he clearly makes up for with his skating. 

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6 minutes ago, Nicomo said:

That is just not true at all. It was not even close to “constantly.” In fact, for his size he was quite strong on the puck early on. I remember a play either his rookie season (or was it last season?) where he completely outmuscled Evgeni Malkin and stripped the puck away from him. He made far more plays like that his first couple years than ones where he got straight up schooled.

Hughes isn’t quite as strong as Nico was his 1st year, but they also play pretty different games. Jack is probably never going to as as effective as Nico is as far as his 2-way game, but what he lacks in size and strength he clearly makes up for with his skating. 

Dunno, I think we'll have to agree to disagree on that one.  I personally wasn't really looking for situations where he was out-muscled by the opposition in his first year or two, but I can remember MULTIPLE examples of other people here pointing it out.  As I said, I wasn't really looking for it and it's not something I viewed as a knock on Nico, because it's just human nature - he's going to be smaller at 18 and eventually hopefully he fills out.  But others pointed it out here so much that eventually I couldn't help but notice it too. 

To be clear, I'm not saying that he was made to look foolish or anything like that, but I can personally recall instances where he was in 1 on 1 battles along the boards and other guys, not even traditionally big or physical players, would bump Nico off the puck fairly easily.  It wasn't uncommon to see Nico fall to his knees after absorbing a hit from someone in his rookie season.

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