5. Luke Hughes
Just because a contract isn’t ending at the end of the season doesn’t mean a player isn’t looking towards his next one. Luke Hughes is going to re-sign for massive money with the Devils. Barring a serious injury, Jack Hughes’s younger brother was drafted by the Devils to play here next to his brother for more than a decade.
If Luke Hughes finds himself in the Calder Trophy race or looks like a legit top-four defenseman right off the bat, Fitzgerald will want to lock him up. Don’t be surprised if he immediately gives Luke Hughes the Jack Hughes contract. We’re serious.
It sounds wild to us too, but that’s been how the Devils do business. They’d rather sign their stars a year early rather than a year late. Can you imagine the price they could have gotten Bratt to sign for three years ago? They learned from that with multiple stars, including Jack Hughes.
We just don’t see the Devils letting Luke Hughes play into his contract year. Too many young defensemen are signing for insane contracts. Look at the deal Rasmus Dahlin just signed with the Buffalo Sabres. The Devils don’t want to pay anyone $11 million per season. They can avoid it by paying one of their final stars a year early.