Fresh off an IIHF World Championships run with Team USA, likely No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft Jack Hughes has decided not to take part in several of the NHL Combine's physical test. Despite outcries by some in the hockey community, this is actually a brilliant move by the savvy 18-year-old.
Hughes has no reason to risk injury before the ink of his contract is dry. Not performing at the Combine will not hurt his draft stock, as the New Jersey Devils appear primed to selected him with the top overall pick when the time comes.
The American prodigy showed up big at Worlds', performing with some of the NHL's best and playing a vital role even though Team USA eventually fell short. Despite Kaapo Kakko's role in Finland's eventual win at Worlds', that should only cement him as the second-best prospect behind Hughes, likely going to the Devils' rival, the New York Rangers.
Hughes work on the ice and his film speak for him. Any work at the NHL Combine, while maybe helpful to the Devils, only has the potential to hurt him in the long run. Stay home, and get ready to count those stacks, Jack.