Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, the top two picks in the 2019 NHL Draft, will go head-to-head in the NHL for the first time when the New Jersey Devils play the New York Rangers. But there are more stories to watch this week. Here are the top five along with fantasy can’t-miss players.
1. Hughes vs. Kakko
Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko will oppose one another for the first time in the NHL when the New York Rangers play the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV).
Hughes, an 18-year-old center, was selected by the Devils with the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. He’s yet to score and is minus-3 for New Jersey, which is 0-3-2 after losses to the Philadelphia Flyers, Edmonton Oilers and Boston Bruins last week.
Kakko is an 18-year-old forward chosen No. 2 by the Rangers in the 2019 draft. He scored his first NHL goal in a 4-1 loss to the Oilers on Saturday that has New York 2-1-0 to start the season.
2. Bruins, Maple Leafs renew acquaintances
The Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs play for the first time since the Eastern Conference First Round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, SN1, NESN, NHL.TV).
Boston eliminated Toronto in seven games en route to reaching the Stanley Cup Final, the second consecutive year the Bruins ended the Maple Leafs’ season in the first round. The Bruins begin the week 4-1-0 after wins against the Vegas Golden Knights and Devils, and a loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
The Maple Leafs are led by center Auston Matthews (seven points; six goals, one assist), forward Mitchell Marner (six points; two goals, four assists) and defenseman Morgan Rielly (five assists). They’re 3-2-1 with losses to the St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning before a 5-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.
3. Hughes vs. Hughes
Jack Hughes will play against older brother Quinn Hughes for the first time in the NHL when the Devils face the Vancouver Canucks at Prudential Center on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; SN, MSG+, NHL.TV).
Quinn Hughes, a 19-year-old defenseman chosen by the Canucks with the No. 7 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, has three points (one goal, two assists) this season for Vancouver, which is 2-2-0 after wins against the Los Angeles Kings and Flyers.
4. Wednesday Night Hockey
An up-and-coming team looking to take the next big step and a postseason staple that’s won the Stanley Cup three times since 2009 will face off when the Avalanche play the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on “Wednesday Night Hockey” (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
The Penguins are 4-2-0 after a 7-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place on Sunday and are without injured centers Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad.
Colorado has started 4-0-0 and is led by forwards Nathan MacKinnon (six points; one goal, five assists) Mikko Rantanen, who also has six points (three goals, three assists) after agreeing to a six-year contract as a restricted free agent Sept. 28.
5. Burakovsky back in Washington
Before traveling to Pittsburgh, the Avalanche begin the week against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Monday (5 p.m. ET; ESPN+, NBCSWA, ALT, NHL.TV), when Andre Burakovsky plays against his former team for the first time since Washington traded the forward to Colorado on June 28.
Burakovsky, the No. 23 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, scored at 3:29 of overtime to help the Avalanche remain undefeated with a 3-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. He has four points (two goals, two assists) this season and had 145 points (62 goals, 83 assists) in five seasons with the Capitals.
Fantasy can’t-miss picks
Ondrej Kase, RW, ANA — The Anaheim Ducks have four games this week, three at home, and Kase has four points (one goal, three assists) and 17 shots on goal through five games. Kase, who plays on a line with mostly center Ryan Getzlaf, has become a must-add player in standard leagues with more favorable line placement than previous seasons. — Pete Jensen
Kaapo Kakko, RW, NYR — The rookie scored his first goal in the NHL against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. The New York Rangers have three games this week against the New Jersey Devils, Washington Capitals and Vancouver Canucks, providing plenty of opportunity for Kakko to get hot. — Rob Reese