Last September, before warm-ups for the All-American Prospect Game, NHL Central Scouting director Dan Marr spotted U.S. stars Jack Hughes and Cole Caufield kicking a soccer ball around to loosen up.
With every NHL team scouting the game, Marr decided to offer free advice.
“You know guys, in a game like this, it’s all about showing what you are about,” Marr told the players. “When you get the chance, you shoot.”
Hughes looked at Marr with a grin. “Dan, do you really think you have to tell Cole to shoot?”
"Point taken,” Marr said.
The 5-foot-7 Caufield would go on to score 72 goals in 64 games for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program to set a program record for goals in a season. Hughes, meanwhile, registered 112 points in 50 games this season to establish a program record of 228 points in a two-season career.
These two players are part of what could be the richest draft of NTDP players the NHL has ever seen. Hughes is projected to be drafted No. 1 by the New Jersey Devils and Caufield and teammate Alex Turcotte, another center, could go in the first five picks.