06/25 14:15 CDT Devils introduce Jack Hughes to New Jersey after big week
Devils introduce Jack Hughes to New Jersey after big week
By TOM CANAVAN
AP Sports Writer
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) --- The Devils introduced No. 1 overall pick Jack Hughes to
New Jersey on Tuesday --- even though he is already sharing the spotlight.
The Devils have given notice they might be re-emerging as a contender with an
encouraging draft and the stunning acquisition of six-time All-Star defenseman
P.K. Subban. It has all gone a long way in turning pessimism into optimism for
a team that finished with the league's third-worst record and out of the
playoffs for the sixth time in seven years.
"Adding a talent like Jack Hughes on Friday night and Saturday, P.K. Subban,
obviously I think the Devils are back in business," general manager Ray Shero
It started with winning the draft lottery in early April to the selection of
Hughes, a center, with the top pick Friday to the trade for Subban, who
immediately steps into the role as New Jersey's top defenseman.
With 2017-18 MVP Taylor Hall expected to return to form after an injury-marred
campaign, 2017 No. 1 pick Nico Hischier continuing his development and leading
scorer Kyle Palmieri playing his best hockey, the Devils have a shot to do
something in a league where the St. Louis Blues come out of nowhere to win the
Devils majority owner Josh Harris can't wait to the season to start, adding
Devils' fans are used to winning Stanley Cups --- the last was in 2003 --- and
now is the time to start doing it again.
"Jack joining the franchise represents another turn in our goal to be elite,"
Harris said at a news conference for Hughes at the Prudential Center. "We said
that we're here not to do anything other than consistently compete and
ultimately win the Stanley Cup."
With parents Jim and Ellen sitting in the front row, the 18-year-old Hughes was
soft spoken, confident and composed speaking on a stage that included Harris
The Florida-born Hughes said he had no doubt he would be playing next season in
the NHL for the Devils and he hopes to play a creative game.
It is just what the talent-starved Devils need. The past week was a major step
in Shero's rebuilding plan over the past four years. It started soon after he
was hired with the trades for Hall and Palmieri, the draft of Hischier, another
center, and now the selection of Hughes and the trade with Nashville for Subban
and his $9 million cap hit for each of the next three seasons.
Hughes hasn't stopped going since the draft. He returned to New Jersey with
Shero, Harris and his parents on a private jet and spent the next few days
making media appearances. He attended the New York Yankees game against Toronto
on Monday night, sitting for 30 minutes with Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson and
actor Adam Sandler.
He is eager now to return to suburban Toronto, where he grew up, and begin
preparations for an 82-game season against men, and being a part of a team.
"I want to be Jack Hughes, not Patrick Kane or Matt Barzal," Hughes said. "I
want to have my own flavor, my own excitement to my game."
The 170-pound playmaking center mixed poise, drive, and sheer skating ability
to score 74 goals and 154 assists in 110 games with the USA Hockey National
Team Development Program.
It will be interesting to see what he does with the Devils. Hischier had 20
goals and 32 assists as a rookie.
Hughes doesn't see himself as competing with Hischier for the job as the
"I think to win you have to have 1A and 1B," said Hughes, who will wear No. 86
with the Devils. "No team wins with just one really good center. Travis Zajac
has been a really good center for a long time and I think the Devils are in a
really good spot. In the NHL, I feel whoever I play with will be a really good
Coach John Hynes is looking forward to using all his new talent.
"It's exciting," Hynes said. "It's what you want. You want guys to come in and
give you a chance to win and coach some excellent players."
And who is to say the Devils are done? They still have $25 million available in
"I feel with the pieces we have at this moment, we are a much better team than
we were on Thursday," goaltender Cory Schneider said. "That's encouraging."
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