"I was saying yesterday, 'what do the Devils need? We need more talent' and this is quite the start."
On Jack Hughes:
"I've seen Jack Hughes play a lot, I've seen Kaapo Kakko play but not as much... I'll see him more again. The depth of this draft, its a great draft to have three second-round picks, but to have the first overall, it's what we need and it's a great day for our franchise."
"It's pretty amazing. He's 17 years old. When I've seen Jack play and just seen how he interacts with teammates, he's an incredible skater. All three of the Hughes boys are incredible talents, but with Jack its about the awareness on the ice, the instincts, the speed, the change of speed, he's a very selfless player. You can see that when his linemates or his team scores, he's a team player."
What this means to the franchise:
"Doing the lottery tonight and having the opportunity to pick a Jack Hughes or someone like that is certainly so exciting for our fans. And for everybody, to add a good player. Good players like to play with good players and Jack Hughes has got talent. There's a ton of upside to his game."
On Kaapo Kakko:
"Kakko is a really good player, to watch him at the World Juniors in particular and Finland has such a great program in particular. To watch him at that tournament, he scored the game winning goal. He's a hell of a player. And that that's what I'm thinking, even if we were picking at three I would have been happy."
Waiting for the team to be called:
"To be in the final two with [Rangers GM] Jeff Gorton, we're both standing there looking at each other going 'holy cow'"
How the number one pick is transformative:
"When you're picking number one, you're giving your scouts all the ammunition they need. You dictate what goes on behind you in the draft and thats a good position to be in as far as the draft, picking first overall and upgrading your franchise. We're going to get beyond that and this pick this year is certainly going to help that and get us going again."
The draft as a whole is important:
"Every team has got such a long book on these players and so do we. Lets be honest, beyond those two [Hughes and Kakko] this is a draft that goes seven rounds deep and as I always say, hopefully a first overall pick will be able to be special but there will always be someone in the fifth round that will make it to the Hall of Fame one day, or the sixth round and that happens almost every year... Twenty years later."
On the Devils building blocks:
"The plan four years ago was that we needed to get younger, we needed more assets, we needed more skill. We knew it wasn't going to happen overnight but we think we've created something in support of Josh [Harris] and David [Blitzer] and John [Hynes] has done a really good job to in terms of our culture and accountability and work ethic."
Importance of having previous first overall picks on roster:
"It's an important thing with what you do to transition a player into your organization, whether its a rookie or a first overall pick. I know that when we won the lottery and selected Nico [Hischier] that Taylor [Hall] was one of the first ones to reach out to him, it was a big help. He had been through it. The same thing now with Nico, he's been through it.
"Nico knows this, I didn't promise him anything. He earned his spot and he knows it. When I talked with Nico and his parents, the only thing I promised Nico's parents is that I would take care of their son. I didn't promise him a spot, he earned his spot through exhibition games and practice. What's important if you send your son somewhere, whether its college or anywhere, you're worried when your son or daughter goes away. Our job is to have an environment of support and development. Not everything goes smoothly all the time, there are life lessons, but we feel very well prepared to do that. And we've done it and its really helped a lot of our guys."