Devils Re-Sign Carrick

The Devils brought back a late season acquisition today, re-signing defenseman Connor Carrick to a two-year contract with an average annual value (AAV) of $1,500,000 – it breaks down to $1,500,000 in 2019-20 and $1,500,000 in 2020-21.

The 25-year-old Carrick was acquired on February 23, 2019 from the Dallas Stars in exchange for defenseman Ben Lovejoy and debuted February 25 against Montreal according to the press release put out by the Devils. He had two points that night (both assists) and “recorded his first goal as a Devil” on April 1 against the Rangers “notching the game-winner in a 4-2 victory.”

The native of Orland Park, Illinois, who was the Capitals’ “sixth selection, 137th overall, in the 2012 NHL Draft,” seems to be extremely excited to be a part of the Devils going forward.

On Instagram, he wrote a post saying he was “(h)onored to join the hungry and promising New Jersey Devils.” He acknowledged that the fan interest and support is at a high and he can understand why with the moves the Devils have made this offseason. He said that he is ready to go (or “oozing with the fire to start the season as soon as tonight” as he put it) and will try to bring his best to the team.

He also mentioned that whenever he signs a NHL contract, “the privilege to play in the best League in the world is not lost on me.”

Carrick, in 201 NHL games with Washington, Toronto, Dallas and the Devils, has 11 goals , 30 assists and 41 points to go with 135 penalty minutes.

Two Players Re-Sign With Devils

The Devils announced two re-signings of players to one-year, two-way contracts today via a press release.

Forward Brandon Baddock signed for $700,000 at the NHL level ($75,000 at the American Hockey League level). According to the press release put out by the team, Baddock, “(i)n his third professional season… set career highs in games played (67), goals (3), assists (7), points (10) and penalty minutes (154).” Those 154 penalty minutes led the AHL as well, according to the press release.

He was the Devils’ “sixth-round selection and 161st overall in the 2014 NHL Draft.” He has played the last two years with the Binghamton Devils of the AHL.

Defenseman Josh Jacobs signed for $700,000 at the NHL level and $85,000 at the AHL level. He played 69 games last year for Binghamton and had three goals, 10 assists for 13 points along with 42 penalty minutes. He did get some time with the big club, making his NHL debut on March 21, 2019 versus Boston at Prudential Center.

According to the press release, he was the Devils’ “second-round selection… 41st overall in the 2014 NHL Draft.”

Red Bests White in Development Camp Scrimmage

The Devils once again opened their doors to fans for Development Camp when they presented the Red and White Scrimmage earlier today. Team Red, featuring Jack Hughes, won the event, 3-2 in overtime.

There was a standing room only crowd on hand again at the RWJBarnabas Hockey House jammed in to see Hughes, Ty Smith, Jesper Boqvist and some of the other future stars of the Devils. And they did not disappoint.

I got there a little bit later, about ten minutes before warmups and could only find a spot to stand behind two other people along the half wall in the zone that Team Red attacked twice (the teams never switched ends). That gives you an idea of the sheer number of fans who came out to see this event.

The game consisted of two 25 minute “periods” with an intermission between them.

Team Red got a nice goal from Nikita Popugaev and a highlight reel-quality marker from Hughes while for Team White, Michael McLeod set up a nice second goal. When the game ended tied at two, it went to a five-minute, sudden death, three-on-three OT period. Here, Marian Studenic scored the game-winner for Team Red, giving them the 3-2 victory.

Following the contest, the teams competed in a shootout where every player on each team got to shoot on goalies Evan Cormier (Team Red) and Gilles Senn (Team White). Team White won the shootout 3-2. The players really got to show off their skills in this one, making some nice moves in what lived up to its billing as a “skills competition.”

Overall, the week of Development Camp activities were pretty successful. The events open to the public were very well done and handled well by the team. Much like in Nico Hischier’s Draft year, it was cool to see Jack Hughes before he really takes off as an NHL star.

Hughes Agrees to Entry Level Contract

The Devils today announced that they have signed 2019’s first overall pick, Jack Hughes, to a three-year entry level contact (ELC). The three years is the maximum an ELC can be signed for.

The contract has an annual average value of $925,000 plus performance bonuses according to the press release put out by the Devils.

Hughes is currently participating in Devils rookie camp that will continue with the Red and White Scrimmage tomorrow. This is open to the public and I will be there. I will try to get a post up soon after on the event.

Hughes will now get ready for training camp come September as he will almost definitely be on the opening night roster come October.

The Jack Hughes Era has officially begun in New Jersey and it should be a great ride!

Devils Hold 3-on-3 Tournament at Development Camp

Firstly, I apologize for this post being a day late as I am still recovering from the trip in from Arizona and the ensuing time change. I admit that I have been very tired for the past week. But on to the business at hand.

The Devils held their now-annual 3-on-3 tournament at Development Camp yesterday at the RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House practice rink. The rookies were divided into four teams (Team Niedermeyer, Team Stevens, Team Daneyko and Team Brodeur). Team Niedermeyer, which included number one overall pick in this year’s Draft, Jack Hughes, won the event.

The tournament consisted of seven minute “periods” with two teams facing each other in one of the rink’s offensive zones. The teams would rotate to either side of the rink so that fans on both sides got to see the players in action. When one of the games ended in a tie, there was a two-minute sudden-death shootout, with the first team to beat a goalie winning the game. Teams wore either red or white jerseys with two of the teams having to switch when facing an opponent with the same color jersey.

I was standing along the glass at the end of the rink nearest the lobby (fans could not stand at the other end of the rink) and got to see things really close. Ty Smith and, of course, Hughes, impressed the most, but I also thought Mike McLeod had a pretty good showing as did defenseman Reilly Walsh and forward Joey Anderson.

Team Niedermeyer, as mentioned, won the tournament. The team featured, along with Hughes, goalie Akira Schmid, Danny Weight, Tyce Thompson, Brandon Gignac, Blake Speers, Walsh, Xavier Bernard and Jeremy Grouleau.

Following the win, the team was presented with a trophy by Devils legend Patrik Elias. They then took a team photo and then all four teams saluted the standing-room only crowd. All of the players were then corralled for a camp photo before Hughes and Anderson were interviewed by Amanda Stein. Fans were then allowed into the main arena to take pictures with the players and receive autographs. About 150 lucky fans who showed up early enough to get special wrist bands were able to attend a meet-and-greet with Hughes.

Chris Westcott reported for the Devils’ official website and app that Hughes was impressed by the showing of support from Devils fans. He was quoted as saying “I love Jersey already.” Wescott also quoted Hughes as saying that “I’m just really excited to play here for a lot of years… I’m really excited to get going.”

On Saturday, the Devils will be presenting their Red and White Scrimmage at Development Camp and I will be attending. I should have something up a little faster then so be on the lookout for that.

Devils Development Camp Gets Underway

This news is mostly from yesterday, but I was just getting in from Arizona and did not have time to write anything up on it.

Devils Development Camp starts today (July 9) at the RWJBarnabas Hockey House practice rink at Prudential Center. It runs through July 13 and there were 37 players invited (including 23 forwards, ten defensemen and four goalies according to the Devils’ press release).

This roster includes this year’s first overall pick, Jack Hughes (who alone should be worth the $5 the Devils are charging for tickets to the 3-on-3 tournament tomorrow – July 10 and the Red and White Scrimmage on Saturday) and last year’s top pick, defenseman Ty Smith.

According to the press release, there will be a few players with some NHL experience with the big club. These include Joey Anderson, Nathan Bastian, Michael McLeod, Brett Seney (all forwards) and defenseman Colton White.

Guys who spent most of last season with Binghamton of the AHL who are also attending camp this week are: Brandon Gignac, Nikita Popugaev, Yegor Sharangovich, Blake Speers and Marian Studenic.

Making their debut at this camp for the Devils are the other players picked in this year’s Draft, including (aside from Hughes, mentioned above): Nikita Okhotyuk, Graeme Clarke, Michael Vukkojevic, Tyce Thompson, Case McCarthy, Cole Brady, Patrick Moynihan and Nikita Pasic.

Some guys to watch other than Hughes and Smith include: Jesper Boqvist, Fabian Zetterlund, Aarne Talvitie and Reilly Walsh.

Goalies include Gilles Senn, Akira Schmid, Evan Cormier and Brady. Just like regular camp, the Devils will host three players who were invited seeking to get a look from the team and maybe be signed. These three players are: Nicholas Canade, Danny Weight and Tyler Young.

Also attending are: defensemen Mitchell Hoelscher and Eetu Pakkila and forwards Xavier Bernard, Matthew Hellickson, Colby Sissons, Mikhail Maltsev and Jeremy Groleau.

I will be attending Dev Camp tomorrow for the 3-on-3 tournament and the Red and White Scrimmage on Saturday and will try to have something up for both.

Devils Make Some Free Agent Pickups

Sorry about this post being a little behind, I have been away helping my brother move he and his family’s belongings from New Jersey to Arizona. We just completed a cross-country drive in two days all while going on just about four hours sleep. So I’m here in Phoenix, Arizona writing this after free agency hit yesterday.

And the Devils made a mid-level move and three relatively minor moves in free agency, as Ray Shero continues to build mostly through the Draft and trades.

The big get for the Devils was former Flyer and Predator winger Wayne Simmonds. While some fans may be concerned about the mileage on Simmonds’ body and the wear and tear that his game tends to bring to him, the deal was only for one year. He signed a one-year deal worth $5,000,000 according to the Devils’ press release.

The 30-year-old Simmonds was a fan favorite in Philly for his scrappy style of play. He notched 17 goals and 13 assists (30 points) last season for the Flyers and Nashville. He also had 99 penalty minutes. Overall, he has 243 goals and 231 assists (474 points) over 841 regular season games for the Kings, Flyers and Preds. He also has eight goals and 13 assists (21 points) in 44 playoff games. He also played in the 2017 All-Star game, representing the Flyers and the Metro Division in LA.

The native of Scarborough, Ontario won the Mark Messier Leadership Award at this year’s NHL Awards for being a player who is a superior leader and a contributing member of society.

He represented Canada internationally at the World Championship in 2013 and 2017, winning silver in 2017. He played in the 2008 World Junior Championship as a 20-year-old, winning gold. He played junior hockey in the OHL with the Owen Sound Attack and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds before being drafted by the Kings 61st overall, second round in 2007.

In addition to this signing, the Devils also signed three other players to two-way contracts, including defenseman Dakota Mermis from the Coyotes system, defenseman Matt Tennyson from the Sabres organization and forward Ben Street from Anaheim.

For Mermis, 25, this is a one-year, two-way contract which is worth $700,000 at the NHL level and $200,000 in the AHL. He will have $250,000 guaranteed. Tennyson, 29, inked a two-year, two-way contract worth a guaranteed $400,000 with $700,000 going to him at the NHL level and $350,000 in Binghamton. Street’s one-year, two-way contract is worth $750,000 in the NHL and $425,000 in the AHL. He is 32-years-old.

So the Devils get some depth without making too many risky moves that teams are prone to in free agency. This big guy here is obviously Simmonds and he is only signed to a one-year deal, so it’s not too bad if it does not work out. We will see how this move pays off, but remember that in the meantime, Ray can still make trades if possible, so this may not be the final piece the Devils add this summer.

Devils Reveal 2019-20 Schedule

The Devils, along with the entire National Hockey League, revealed their 2019-20 regular season schedule today. It includes some interesting notes, so let’s dive in, shall we?

As mentioned, the team opens at home on Friday, October 4 against the Winnipeg Jets. This marks about the fourth or fifth straight season that they kick off against a Western Conference team. (Remember, they started last year in Sweden against Edmonton, even though their home opener proper was against Washington.) They then take off the very next day for a game at Buffalo on the fifth.

Wednesday, October 9 sees our first divisional game and it is against a rival. The Devils head down to Philly to take on the Flyers at 7:30 that night (going out on a limb, but assuming that this might be an NBCSN Wednesday Night Hockey game, given the start time and day of the week). They then return home the next night (October 10) to face the Oilers.

Saturday, October 12 has them in Boston to take on the defending Eastern Conference champs. That Monday, October 14, the Devils will play a Columbus Day matinee at 1 PM against the Florida Panthers at Prudential Center.

Circle your calendars for Thursday, October 17, as the Devils host the Rangers for the first time in the new season. It will also be Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko’s first regular season meeting as members of their rival NHL clubs. Like adding fuel to a fire, this one should get every Devils and Rangers fan going for the young season.

No rest for the weary, though, as Hughes will face his older brother, Quinn, and the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, October 19 at Prudential Center. The Devils then have almost a week off as their next game comes on Friday, October 25 at home against the Coyotes. They then take on last year’s President’s Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, October 30. New Jersey finishes off this homestand on Friday, November 1 against the Flyers.

The following night, Saturday, November 2, they travel to Raleigh to take on the Hurricanes. From there, it’s off to Winnipeg on Tuesday, November 5 as this year’s Western Canada trip kickoff in the Manitoba capital. Thursday, November 7 takes the team to Calgary, Friday November 8 to Edmonton and Sunday, November 10 to Vancouver.

They return home to face the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday, November 13 and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, November 15. They then take a quick road trip to Montreal to take on the Habs on Saturday, November 16 before returning home on Tuesday, November 19 to face Boston.

On Friday, November 22, it’s another quick one-game road trip, this time to Pittsburgh before they return home to face the Red Wings on Saturday, November 23 and the Wild on Tuesday, November 26.

One nationally televised game that is confirmed is Thursday, November 28 (Thanksgiving Day here in the States) when the Devils travel back to Montreal to take on the Canadiens in a game that should end up on NBC.

The Devils return home on Saturday, November 30 to face the Rangers again in the first home Saturday matinee of the season (a 1 PM puck drop). Monday, December 2 takes them back on the road, this time to Buffalo before returning to Newark for a quick two-game homestand. Tuesday, December 3, the Vegas Golden Knights come to town and Friday, December 6, the Chicago Blackhawks visit.

Another big one is Saturday, December 7 as the Devils travel to Nashville. It will be PK Subban’s first trip back to visit the Predators and he should get a good reaction as he was beloved in that city.

From there, they travel to Dallas on Tuesday, December 10, Colorado on Friday, December 13 and Arizona on Saturday, December 14.

Coming back from that road trip, the Devils will face the Ducks on Wednesday, December 18 and the Capitals on Friday, December 20. Saturday, December 21 takes them to Columbus for the first time in 2019-20. They then finish off the schedule before the Christmas break on Monday, December 23 at Chicago.

Coming out of the Christmas break will see Toronto visit The Rock on Friday, December 27. They then travel up to the Canadian capital on Sunday, December 29 to take on the Senators before returning home on New Year’s Eve to face the Boston Bruins in a 1 PM start.

The new year kicks off on Thursday, January 2 as the Devils meet the Islanders for the first time. This game will be at Barclays Center as the Isles will again be splitting time between Brooklyn and the Nassau Coliseum.

The Avalanche come to Prudential Center on Saturday, January 4 followed by the Islanders on Tuesday, January 7. Thursday, January 9 kicks off two road games versus divisional rivals. That night, they play at MSG against the Rangers. Saturday, January 11, they travel to Washington to take on the Caps. From there, it’s back home for the Lightning on Sunday, January 12 and then to Toronto for Tuesday, January 14.

The road trip continues back in Washington on Thursday, January 16 and Columbus on Saturday, January 18. Following these games is the bye week and (I believe) the All-Star Game at St. Louis. Coming back, the road trip wraps up in Ottawa on Monday, January 27.

Coming back home, the team faces a pair of Western Conference foes first on Thursday, January 30 against Nashville and then on Saturday, February 1 against the Stars. This homestand finishes against the Canadiens on Tuesday, February 4.

Two days later, on Thursday, February 6, the team travels to Philadelphia, then it’s back home for Los Angeles (Saturday, February 8), Florida (Tuesday, February 11) and Detroit (Thursday, February 13).

Home games and away games alternate for a few as they travel to Carolina on St. Valentine’s Day (a Friday), then come home for the Blue Jackets on Sunday, February 16, then to St. Louis to visit the Stanley Cup champs on Tuesday, February 18, then home for the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, February 20. That turns into a quick homestand as the Capitals come to town on Saturday, February 22.

Following that, it’s off to Detroit on Tuesday, February 25 and then the California trip. That begins in San Jose on Thursday, February 27, then heads south to LA on Leap Day, Saturday, February 29 and Anaheim on Sunday, March 1. They then finish the western swing against the Golden Knights in Vegas on Tuesday, March 3.

They return to Newark on Friday, March 6 against the Blues. Saturday, March 7 takes them to Manhattan to face the Rangers for the final time. Then it’s back to Prudential Center for the Pens on Tuesday, March 10 and the Hurricanes on Thursday, March 12.

New Jersey then does a Florida trip as they are at the Panthers on Saturday, March 14 and at the Lightning on Sunday, March 15.

If you are a betting person, put money on the Maple Leafs wearing their Toronto St. Pats throwback jerseys on Tuesday, March 17 when the Devils are up there.

They return home for three games at The Rock. The Flames visit on Thursday, March 19, the Isles visit on Saturday, March 21 and the Blue Jackets on Monday, March 23.

It’s then back on the road, to Minnesota this time on Thursday, March 26 before they come back home to face the Flyers on Saturday, March 28 and the Hurricanes on Sunday, March 29.

It’s then time for the home stretch as they travel to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, March 31. On Thursday, April 2, the team finishes their home schedule versus Buffalo and then, on Saturday, April 4, the season concludes against the Islanders, this time at the Nassau Coliseum.

Not bad. According to NHL Network’s NHL Tonight schedule preview, the Devils will log the least travel miles in the NHL at just 31,758 miles traveled. Not a bad deal, but a perk all of the NYC metro area teams get to partake in, generally.

Hopefully for us, the season extends far beyond that game against the Isles on April 4, but for now, this is a good indication that the 2019-20 season will be here before we know it. Is it October yet?

Draft Day Two: Devils Acquire PK Subban

What. A. Day. After getting Jack Hughes with the first overall pick yesterday, the Devils kicked off the second day of the 2019 NHL Draft by making quite the splash. The club acquired defenseman PK Subban from the Nashville Predators in exchange for defenseman Steven Santini, defenseman Jeremy Davies, a second-round pick in this year’s Draft (34th overall) and their second-round pick in the 2020 Draft.

The deal made sense for both teams as Nashville was trying to shed some cap in order to sign free agent forward Matt Duchene and the Devils will take on Subban’s entire salary. New Jersey finally gets to use some of their much-vaunted cap space and add a huge piece to their team going forward.

Subban is 30 years old and is one of the NHL’s premier blueliners. He has appeared in the “last three NHL All-Star Games (captaining his squad in the last two) and has been named to the NHL First All-Star Team twice” according to Chris Wescott of the Devils’ official website.

Subban played from 2009-10 to 2015-16 with the Montreal Canadiens and then the last three seasons with the Preds. One thing that Subban brings to the Devils, besides a booming shot from the point and great offensive skill, is notoriety. He is one of the most popular players in the league and also appears in commercials, endorsing things such as Bridgestone tires. He is also a charitable player who has given back to the community in Montreal and Nashville. It is not a stretch to think that with the combination of Taylor Hall, Jack Hughes and PK Subban, the Devils should now appear on national broadcasts a little bit more than in the past. The Devils suddenly become more interesting to a national audience.

The Devils are getting a player who won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman in 2013 and competed in the 2014 Olympics – where he won a gold medal with Canada. The native of Toronto had nine goals and 22 assists last season for 31 total points. He played in an abbreviated 63 game season due to injury. Over his career, he has notched 98 goals and 310 assists for 408 points in 645 games according to Hockey-Reference.com. NewJerseyDevils.com’s Wescott mentioned that he has played in 96 playoff games. In those postseason games, he has 18 goals and 44 assists for 65 points. He helped lead Nashville to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.

Welcome to New Jersey, PK Subban!

The Devils also made one other (low profile) trade today, acquiring John Hayden from the Blackhawks in exchange for John Quenneville.

Hayden was the Hawks’ third-round pick in 2013, out of Yale University. He appeared in 54 games for Chicago over the last four seasons, scoring three goals and two assists for five NHL points. He also logged 27 penalty minutes. This information all came via Chris Wescott of NewJerseyDevils.com.

As for the other eight picks the Devils had in this year’s Draft, those were well-spent. The team picked d-man Nikita Okhotyuk of the Ottawa 67’s (Ontario Hockey League) 61st overall in the second round. Wescott said that he had a pair of goals and 15 assists in 56 games for the 67’s last year. The native of Russia was the “NHL Central Scouting’s 55th-ranked North American Skater” and “captained Team Russia to a bronze medal at the 2018 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup.”

In the third round, the Devils had three picks. With the eighth pick, they took defenseman Danill Misyul from Yaroslavl 2 out of Russia. With the 18th pick in the round, they took Graeme Clarke of the Ottawa 67’s of the OHL. Clarke was born April 24, 2001 in Ottawa. He is a 6-foot, 174-pound right winger who plays “the game at a high level. Combines playmaking ability with a nose for the net” according to Future Considerations. McKeen’s Hockey said that he “is also a very gifted puck handler, blending skill with creativity.” He was ranked as the number 77 North American skater by TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

With the 20th pick in the third round, the Devils selected defenseman Michael Vukojevic of the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL. Born June 8, 2001, Vukojevic is a left-shooting d-man and is a “mobile shutdown defenseman who plays a physical brand of hockey” according to Hockeyprospect.com via EliteProspects. The reviews on him are that he is a good skater and “is accomplished at separating his man from the puck and can be punishing in front of his goalie” (McKeen’s Hockey). He was ranked number 76 amongst North American skaters by McKenzie.

Moving on to the fourth round, the Devils had two picks in that round including the third pick and the 25th pick. With the third pick, they took Tyce Thompson, a right wing from Providence College. He is the brother of Tage Thompson of the Buffalo Sabres and was born on July 12, 1999 in Oyster Bay, New York. He was ranked 83rd among North American skaters by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau. He put up eight goals and 17 assists for 25 points in 42 games for the Friars last season.

With the 25th pick in the fourth round, the Devils took Case McCarthy of the US National Development Team. McCarthy of Clarence, New York was born on January 9, 2001 and is a right-shooting defenseman. He was ranked 77th by the NHL Central Scouting among North American skaters. He is described as a physical player, who does not go out of position to chase the big hit. He also has an “excellent breakout pass to exit the zone” as per Future Considerations.

Moving on to round five, the Devils had two picks. With the third pick in that round, they took Cole Brady, a goalie from the Janesville Jets of the North American Hockey League. He is 6-feet, 5-inches, 165-pounds and catches left. He was ranked number nine by the NHL Central Scouting for North American goalies. The native of Pickering, Ontario was born February 12, 2001.

Two picks later, the Devils selected Arseny Gritsyuk, a right wing from Omsk-2 of Russia.

With a pick in the sixth round and one in the seventh, the Devils were on the clock two more times. In round sixth, with the third pick, they took Patrick Moynihan, a right wing from the US National Development Program. Moynihan will be playing next season at Providence College, but he Millis, Massachusetts native (born January 23, 2001) was ranked 73rd among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. He is considered a good two-way forward, with McKeen’s Hockey saying that he “is a diligent and versatile forward, able to impact the game in both the offensive and defensive roles.” Future Considerations said that he “has a good shot and is able to release it quickly to fool opposing goaltenders.” With him committing to Providence, the Devils may or may not be able to sign him following his NCAA career (ala Will Butcher and Alex Kerfoot), but that is the gamble you take on a college player and why you take them in the later rounds generally.

The third pick in the seventh round rounded out the Devils’ 2019 Draft and they took Nikola Pasic, a right wing from Linkoping Jr. of Sweden. A native of Gislaved, Sweden, he was born on October 16, 2000 and was ranked 88th among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting. He is an offensive threat with Hockeyprospect.com saying that “Pasic is a dangler, where he uses his stickhandling to dazzle opponents and gets around them using fast hands and great balance.” McKeen’s Hockey said that he “has a quick release on his wrist shot and is dangerous when shooting while moving at top speed.” Future Considerations summed him up by saying that his “excellent vision and passing skills bode well for teammates and he is great at making plays happen.”

Overall, not a bad haul for the Devils this Draft (quite an understatement, I know). We will see where this takes us as we get closer to development camp and training camp through July, August and September. It is shaping up to be a great time for Devils fans. All I can say is enjoy the ride!

Devils Take Hughes First Overall

Twenty-nine years ago at the 1990 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver, the Devils’ fortunes changed forever as they picked Martin Brodeur 20th overall. Tonight, New Jersey hopes their future will be changed once again as they made the first overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft from the same city. They chose Jack Hughes with that pick.

Hughes, a center who, according to Chris Wescott of NewJerseyDevils.com, was born in Orlando, Florida, was taken from the US National Development Program. He just turned 18 years-old during the World Championship and stands 5-feet, 10-inches tall, weighing in at 171 pounds. Of course vitals like that are useless since he will still grow into his frame and fill out as he gets physically stronger.

He was ranked as the top North American skater by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau at both the midterm and final rankings according to Wescott.

Wescott said that Hughes posted 34 goals and 78 assists (112 points) in an amazing 50 games for the USA U-18 team. He also mentioned that Hughes was on the American team at the World Junior Championship, captaining the US and scoring 20 points in seven games (nine goals/11 assists).

So what are the Devils getting with this pick? According to EliteProspects.com, he brings “(e)lite skating, hockey sense and skill.” He “has most attributes you look for in a star player. A very agile player with incredible speed. He is also equipped with fast hands and his puck handling along with his skating allows him to regularly beat (a) player one-on-one.”

NBCSN’s broadcast team, including Bob McKenzie and Pierre McGuire compared his upside to Steve Yzerman, Johnny Gaudreau and Patrick Kane.

This is lofty praise to be sure, but Hughes was bred for this. Both his mother Jim and his mother Ellen played college hockey. His father at Providence College and his mother at the University of New Hampshire. His older brother Quinn plays for the Vancouver Canucks and his younger brother Luke is a highly touted prospect of his own (eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft).

What Hughes brings to the Devils is speed, great skating ability, and playmaking. The NBCSN broadcast mentioned how he simply makes his linemates better. Hockeyprospect.com, via EliteProspects put it nicely with this quote about his skating: “His edge work, agility, elusiveness, acceleration and top-gear are elite.”

Summing up his playmaking skills, Future Considerations (also via EliteProspects) said: “His playmaking abilities are exceptional and he’s so poised with the puck, he always makes smart decisions.”

But all of that aside, Hughes seems to be all in. When interviewed by NBCSN following the pick, he seemed like he wanted to start right then. He said that he was “happy to be a Devil” and was chomping at the bit to get going.

Coincidentally, this Jack Hughes is not the first Jack Hughes to play for this franchise. The Colorado Rockies, according to Hockey-Reference.com, picked a Jack Hughes in the 9th round, 142nd overall in the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft. He played a total of 46 games (all for the Rockies) between 1980 and 1982, scoring two goals and five assists for seven points. Hopefully this Jack Hughes makes a bigger mark on the franchise.

In other news, the Devils will be opening the season at home on Friday, October 4 against the Winnipeg Jets. The full schedule is to come later next week.