Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The New Jersey Devils rewarded rising star Jack Hughes with an eight-year, $64 million contract extension Tuesday.
The Devils announced the deal hours before the young center was set to return to the ice against the San Jose Sharks after being out of the lineup since Oct. 19 due to a separated shoulder.
"This is a strong commitment from Jack to the organization's future and the New Jersey Devils to Jack," managing partner David Blitzer said in a statement. "We all know what Jack means to the team on and off the ice -- he's an unbelievable player and a fantastic person. His future is incredibly bright and he will be a pillar for our franchise for years to come."
Hughes' extension, which has an average annual value of $8 million, begins in the 2022-23 campaign. The 20-year-old forward previously was scheduled to become a restricted free agent after this season.
"I'm so excited to sign this deal for myself and for my family," Hughes said. "I love being in New Jersey, and I love playing in New Jersey. I wouldn't want to play anywhere else, and we are really building something special. I believe in what we are doing here, and we have a great chance to be successful for a long time.
"This contract shows that this team is extremely invested in me and I'm also really dedicated to this organization."
Hughes, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, has notched two goals and one assist in two games this season. In 119 career games in New Jersey, he has compiled 20 goals and 35 assists.
During the 2020-21 campaign, Hughes recorded a career-best 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) for the Devils. He also finished tied for second in the league with 56 takeaways that season.