The Devils on Tuesday rewarded their 2019 No. 1 draft pick with an eight-year, $64 million deal, announcing the move hours before the young center was to return to the ice against the Sharks after being out since Oct. 19 with a separated shoulder.
“This is a strong commitment from Jack to the organization’s future and the New Jersey Devils to Jack,” managing partner David Blitzer said in a statement. “We all know what Jack means to the team on and off the ice — he’s an unbelievable player and a fantastic person. His future is incredibly bright and he will be a pillar for our franchise for years to come.”
Hughes had 21 points as an 18-year-old rookie and 31 points last season. He has played only two games this season but has two goals and an assist.
His new deal begins in the 2022-23 season. The 20-year-old had been scheduled to become a restricted free agent after this campaign.
“I’m so excited to sign this deal for myself and for my family,” Hughes said. “I love being in New Jersey, and I love playing in New Jersey. I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else, and we are really building something special. I believe in what we are doing here, and we have a great chance to be successful for a long time. This contract shows that this team is extremely invested in me and I’m also really dedicated to this organization.”
The Devils are 9-6-4 this season, good for sixth in the Metropolitan Division.