The New Jersey Devils took no risks with Jack Hughes.
The team announced on Tuesday that Hughes inked an eight-year, $64-million deal ahead of the 20-year-old centre’s RFA eligibility.
The first-overall pick of the 2019 draft, Hughes was set to become a restricted free agent after this season. His new deal carries an average annual value of $8 million.
“I believe in what we are doing here, and we have a great chance to be successful for a long time,” Hughes said via a press release. “This contract shows that this team is extremely invested in me and I’m also really dedicated to this organization.”
The contract carries obvious significance for the Devils, who now lock one of the most prized prospects of recent years to a deal that may prove to be a bargain should Hughes become what pundits predicted. The forward has scored 20 goals and 55 points in 119 career NHL games over the last three years.
Hughes has missed the last 17 contests due to a dislocated shoulder, but will return to the Devils’ lineup on Tuesday night against the San Jose Sharks.
“We all know what Jack means to the team on and off the ice,” said Devils managing partner David Blitzer. “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.”
New Jersey has struggled to start the 2021-22 NHL season, currently sporting a record of 9-6-4, good for sixth place in the tough Metropolitan Division.
They now have 64 million reasons to try and turn it around, though.
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