The New Jersey Devils announced the team has signed first overall pick Jack Hughes to a three-year entry-level contract worth that carries an annual NHL cap hit of $925,000. There are also performance bonuses in the deal.
The New Jersey Devils signed @jackhughes43 to the maximum three-year, entry-level contract for salary ($925,000 AAV) and performance bonuses.
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) July 12, 2019
The Devils won the NHL Draft Lottery back in April and held the right to choose who they would select number one overall at the 2019 NHL Draft. While there was some debate about who the Devils would take between Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, the Devils ultimately decided to fill a need at centre by drafting Hughes, who was the top-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting, out of the US National Team Development Program.
Hughes played in 51 games for the US NTDP in the 2018-19 season. He recorded 112 points (34 goals, 78 assists) breaking numerous records along the way. Most notably Hughes set the record for most points playing in the US NTDP with 190 over his two years.
What This Means For The Devils Future
With Hughes officially signing his entry-level contract, the future is bright for the Devils. Hughes joins a talented group of young prospects and players that include the likes of Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt, Jesper Boqvist, Joey Anderson, and Ty Smith. Since Ray Shero has taken over the team as general manager, his goal has been to draft and develop the Devils farm system. Shero looks to build from within instead of going after the big guns during free agency.
In addition to Hughes coming on board, the Devils went out and acquired defenceman P.K. Subban from the Nashville Predators as well as signing free agent forward Wayne Simmonds to a one-year deal. The Devils are focused on getting star forward Taylor Hall signed, Hughes’s contract is just another step in the right direction.
Hughes will be in the opening night roster as his skill has been compared to the likes of Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, with his vision on the ice, his skill with the puck, and his ability to make his teammates better. While his size may be an issue for some teams, he has the talent to make things happen. Expect to see Hughes overcome that limitation. He projects as a potential franchise centre.
PLYMOUTH, MI – FEBRUARY 16: Jack Hughes #43 of the USA Nationals turns up ice with the puck against the Russian Nationals during the 2018 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament game at USA Hockey Arena on February 16, 2018, in Plymouth, Michigan. USA defeated Russia 5-4. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
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