The New Jersey Devils drafted Jack Hughes with the top pick Friday night, making him the eighth American to go No. 1 overall.

Hughes, 18, was considered the No. 1 prospect from the start of the season until the finish, but in the second half of the season, many NHL scouts said Hughes and Finland's Kaapo Kakko were neck and neck.

“A lot of the projections on Jack go back a couple of years now,” NHL Central Scouting director Dan Marr told USA TODAY Sports. “The way he has approached this year – I just loved the discipline he has shown, the self-motivation and the way he has handled himself.”

Despite being injured, Hughes had 34 goals and 112 points in 50 games. Thirty of his goals came at even strength or shorthanded.