Even though the trade deadline has now passed, the New Jersey Devils still have a reinforcement on the horizon to add to their roster. Devils team reporter Amanda Stein relays word from Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald that 2021 fourth-overall pick Luke Hughes will sign with New Jersey whenever his current season with the University of Michigan concludes. Hughes’ timeline depends on the level of postseason success Michigan has, so at this point it’s currently unclear when exactly he’ll be able to turn pro.
But whenever Hughes does decide to pull the trigger and sign his entry-level deal, he’ll be a high-upside addition to an already talent-rich Devils blueline. Hughes is among the top prospects currently playing outside of the NHL, and at six-foot-two is an extremely good skater for someone his size. He currently has 36 points in 32 games and has the potential to become a star number-one defenseman in New Jersey. While he has no professional experience and isn’t quite there yet, he could provide some pop to the Devils’ bottom pairing in the role Kevin Bahl currently occupies.
Some other notes from across the NHL:
- The Winnipeg Jets have activated forward David Gustafsson off of injured reserve. Gustafsson hasn’t played since a January 10th loss to the Detroit Red Wings, a contest where he skated in just under nine minutes of ice time and registered an assist. The 22-year-old 2018 second-round pick has five points in 38 games this season and should be able to help patch up a Jets forward corps that has been ravaged by injuries in recent weeks.
- After some rumors today of Florida Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas garnering trade interest, it seems the team is actually more interested in keeping the veteran defenseman in South Florida. Via WPLG Local 10 News’ David Dwork, Florida Panthers GM Bill Zito said the team would “like to keep Gudas” if possible, and that early discussions on a possible contract extension for Gudas have been held. The physical 32-year-old blueliner has an expiring $2.5MM cap hit and has blossomed into a crucial defensive force for the Panthers, averaging over two and a half minutes per game on their penalty kill.