Newark, N.J. — Top draft pick Jack Hughes was a little disappointed on his first night with the New Jersey Devils at their development camp for young players.
Sitting around a TV with Joey Anderson, fellow USA Hockey National Team Development Program teammate and Devils’ draft pick Patrick Moynihan and Matt Hellickson, Hughes was hoping to see Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays win the All-Star Home Run Derby.
Guerrero ran out of gas in the last round and lost to New York Mets’ rookie Pete Alonso on Monday night.
“It was a fun event to watch. It was pretty cool,” said Hughes, who stayed in Toronto after the draft.
There was nothing disappointing for Hughes or the Devils on Tuesday as the NHL team opened their development camp at the Prudential Center.
Hughes, a 18-year-old playmaking center, gave the Devils coaching staff and media a good glimpse of all the skills that made him the No. 1 pick in the draft last month. He buzzed up and down the ice, snapped shots on goal and made passes in tight spots that found open teammates.
Of course, it was just a 45-minute practice and there was almost no hitting. But Hughes showed a lot of the talent that many expect to be on display when the regular season opens in October.
“It was good to get out here and get in a little skate and get our feet under us,” Hughes said after the start of the camp which will end on Saturday. “It was good to come out there with the jersey on for the first time.”
Hughes, who is wearing No. 86, skated with three dozen other players in the camp, including nine of the 11 players drafted last month. The others are mostly young players who were in the AHL last year and may have had briefs stays with the Devils during the course of the season.
Hughes’ hope this week is to learn about playing in the NHL and learning his way around his new home rink.
On the ice, Hughes looked relaxed and right at home.
“None of this is possible without the ice,” Hughes said. “That’s where I have had the most fun and what I love to do. Like I said, none of this is possible without the game of hockey. I know that.”
Hughes is looking forward to some 3-on-3 competition on Wednesday and scoring some goals. He had 74 goals and 154 assists in 110 games with the USA development program.
“I am focused and ready to play in the NHL,” Hughes said. “That’s my goal. I want to be successful. It’s not really a thing I think about. It’s kind of an expectation for me.”
Moynihan, who was taken in the sixth round and will attend Providence College next season, has no doubt Hughes will succeed.
“He is an amazing person, first and foremost, and he is a great player,” Moynihan said. “With his ability to see the ice, the way he skates, I think he can do anything with this game.”
Nylander traded to Chicago
The Blackhawks traded defenseman Henri Jokiharju to the Sabres for underachieving forward Alex Nylander.
Chicago is hoping a chance of scenery will help Nylander, who was selected by Buffalo with the eighth overall pick in the 2016 draft. The 21-year-old Nylander had three goals and three assists in just 19 games with the Sabres over three seasons.
Alex’s father, Michael, played for the Blackhawks from 1999-2002.
Jokiharju, the No. 29 selection in the 2017 draft, made his NHL debut in October and finished with no goals and 12 assists in 38 games in his first season with the Blackhawks. He also showed some promising signs while helping Finland to its fifth world junior hockey title in January.
Colorado extends coach
The Colorado Avalanche agreed to a two-year contract extension with coach Jared Bednar after guiding the team to back-to-back playoff appearances. His contract runs through the 2021-22 season, the team announced.
Bednar is 103-116-27 in three seasons at the helm of the Avalanche.
The Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues have scored another victory — this time, at the Missouri Capitol.
Missouri governor Mike Parson signed legislation that authorizes up to $70 million in state subsidies over two decades to help pay for renovations at Enterprise Center where the Blues play their home games.