The New Jersey Devils believe adding Jack Hughes with the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft on Friday and P.K. Subban in a trade Saturday will provide them additional leverage as they try to sign Taylor Hall to a contract extension.
General manager Ray Shero said he plans to wait until after free agency before speaking again with Hall, a 27-year-old left wing who can sign an extension of up to eight years with the Devils beginning July 1.
"It's important for me to be able to sit down with (managing partners) Josh [Harris] and David [Blitzer], and then go to Taylor and say, 'OK, here's where we are as a franchise,'" Shero said after New Jersey selected 10 players in rounds 2-7 of the draft Saturday. "We're a little different today than we were three days ago or two days ago. 'Here's what we're looking to do, here's what we have.' And I want to hear from him and what's important to him."
When that discussion happens, the Devils will not look like the team that finished 31-41-10 this season and had the third-fewest points in the NHL.
They believe Hughes, an 18-year-old forward who had 112 points (34 goals, 78 assists) in 50 games this season with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team, can become a top-two center for them as soon as next season.