Hughes, Kakko downplay rivalry ahead of 1st meeting
Andre Ringuette / National Hockey League / Getty

Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko aren't adding any fuel to the fire before their first NHL matchup.

This year's top two picks - Hughes to the New Jersey Devils and Kakko to the rival New York Rangers - will clash for the first time Thursday in Newark, but both rookies are focused on a good team result rather than their headlining status.

"It was a big deal when those teams got the first and second picks," Hughes told NHL.com's Dan Rosen. "I mean, it doesn't happen often when those picks go to rivalries, rivalry games. I think the media makes a big deal out of it, but for me and him I'm sure it's just about our teams and trying to get a win."

"It's Rangers against Devils and that's it," Kakko added.

Hughes and Kakko were huge parts of their teams' respective rebuilding plans over the summer. The Devils and Rangers were both busy, with New Jersey bringing in P.K. Subban, Nikita Gusev, and Wayne Simmonds, while New York made significant splashes by adding Artemi Panarin, Jacob Trouba, and Adam Fox.

The remodeling hasn't paid dividends so far for the Devils, who are 0-4-2 to start the season. Hughes has yet to record a point through six games.

The Rangers, meanwhile, have only played three contests to date - the fewest among all teams - but Kakko notched his first career goal in his last outing.

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Hughes, Kakko downplay rivalry ahead of 1st meeting
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