Projected top pick Hughes: ‘You don’t dream of being No. 2’

Jack Hughes is ready for the spotlight.

The projected No. 1 pick in June's NHL Draft met with media at the scouting combine Friday, and while his draft position has been a virtual lock all year, it's top spot or bust in the mind of the young phenom.

"It would be unbelievable to be chosen No. 1," Hughes said, according to NHL.com's Mike Morreale. "I mean, you always dream of being No. 1 ... you don't dream of being No. 2, No. 3, or No. 4 when you're a young kid. I want to be the first overall pick and I feel like that'll be a dream come true if it happened."

Hughes enjoyed a massive draft year, putting up 112 points (35 goals, 78 assists) in 50 games with the U.S. National Team Development Program. The 18-year-old center also represented the U.S. at the world juniors and world under-18 tournament, as well as at the IIHF World Championship alongside some of the NHL's biggest American stars.

Though Hughes has always been the biggest name in the 2019 draft class, Finnish winger Kaapo Kakko has done his best to generate debate around the top selection. Kakko set a Finnish league record for goals by a player aged 18 or younger and bested Hughes in the gold medal game at the world juniors before winning another title at the World Championship in May.

Whether that's enough to usurp Hughes in the top spot remains to be seen.

This year's draft begins Friday, June 21 in Vancouver with the New Jersey Devils owning the top overall pick.

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