New Jersey Devils: Are Jack Hughes Comments Concerning?

The Vancouver Canucks are deep in negotiations with Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. After the Minnesota Wild signed Kirill Kaprizov to a massive deal, all eyes moved to the Canucks and their future high-priced restricted free agents. The Canucks need to find money for both stars, and they have to figure out whether they should sign them both to long-term or short-term deals.

So, what does this have to do with the New Jersey Devils? This is a New Jersey Devils blog after all. Unfortunately, Quinn’s brother Jack Hughes put himself directly into the conversation after this interview question:

Obviously, it’s not like Hughes isn’t tied to this situation. It’s his brother, and he is hearing how some are talking about him in the media. The part of the question not shown was how they were asking about +/-. This was a host looking for a specific answer and getting it. Sure, it’s dirty, but it’s an effective interview tactic to get this result.

It makes us think, though. Is Hughes trying to sneakily send a message to his own team on top of the Canucks?

He mentioned his own deal at the behest of the host and said he’s going to focus on the game while his people work on his extension. That’s good for the Devils because it shows he’s willing to avoid the nonsense that’s going on in Vancouver with a long and drawn-out contract negotiation. His comments about the Canucks show how he views the difference between personal stats and value.

“When you play on one of the worst teams in the division and in the league that’s bound to happen… He loves Vancouver and he wants to play there but the number has to be right.”

That’s a telling statement. Maybe there’s no reason to look further than the surface, but Hughes is currently playing on a team that had two unsuccessful seasons with him on the team. His surroundings really hurt his stats last season, and he likely wants a very good extension despite his numbers not living up to a number-one overall pick. He saw Nico Hischier get a deal worth north of $7 million each season. He’s probably shooting for more than that on a long-term deal.

Obviously, it’s impossible to consider just hockey in these situations. Hughes has to at least put thought into his salary for the upcoming seasons, especially since his brother is going through the same thing. The Devils did just draft his other brother Luke, so it’s likely he’s not even considering playing elsewhere, but as he said, the number has to be right.