In surprising news on Tuesday, not only is Jack Hughes back early from his shoulder injury, but he is now signed for the next eight seasons for eight million a season. Despite his slow first season, Hughes became a big part of the New Jersey Devils in his second season like most fans predicted. and has the highest ceiling of any player in the organization. This season he has only played in four periods and managed three points while looking dominant in the offensive zone.
While he has not put up the numbers to justify such a massive deal yet, the Devils are banking on him growing as a player and this is something I personally don’t mind. It is not without risk, of course, because if he does not grow to above a 50-point player the deal will look bad quickly. His game is all about offense and he needs to play up to this in the next year or two before people start to question it. If he does hit the numbers he is capable of, it is also possible that the deal looks like a steal when the salary cap goes up.
With him around like we expected it solidifies the center of the lineup long term and now the team can rely on him and Nico for a long time and with the defensive additions the most important part of the organization is in good hands. This season, Hughes’s linemates from last year have been struggling and with his return, they should be able to find their games again giving this team three good offensive lines on any given night.
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This is a big day for the Devils and while it might not look good year one expect this to look fantastic by the third year and moving forward. The average annual value on the deal is $8 million which should only look better with time.