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Recapping the Devils' 2021 NHL Draft I PODCAST

Matt Loughlin, Amanda Stein, and Sam Kasan break down the NHL draft picks made by the New Jersey Devils.

by Staff / NewJerseyDevils.com

The 2021 NHL Drat wrapped over the weekend. And on this week's episode of Speak of the Devils, reporters Amanda Stein and Sam Kasan join host Matt Loughlin in recapping the newest acquisitions for New Jersey. Here are some of the highlights.

Luke Hughes

Stein: I was in Prudential Center where all the fans were gathered. Matty, you were there. I was thinking to myself as Tom Fitzgerald and his staff were walking out onto the stage, they better pick Luke here. Not because it's what the crowd wanted, but it would have been a very interesting moment caught if it wasn't Luke. There were Luke signs, and chants of "We Want Luke" and all that. That was my initial thought. I didn't hope who they were going to pick. I was like, I hope for Fitzy's sake that's the way they landed in the end. They did. It was an awesome moment. It was a great moment for the Devils franchise and the Hughes family.

Loughlin: It was a good moment. The crowd loved it. And of course, the reaction of the family. I loved the video, and with Jack being so excited. Gosh, I think he's still shaking as he was hugging his brother. I loved Jim Hughes. Go back and look at the video. The family is there, the name gets mentioned and Jack jumps up and he's shaking and hugging him. Jim Hughes is sitting there, I think he has his arms folded, and he leans to his left and is like, 'what is going on here?' as he looking at them as a proud dad.

Kasan: One of the things that stood out to me when (Luke) did his media availability and I asked him about going to Michigan next year with four guys drafted in the top five picks, how excited he was. You could see him perk up and how excited he was right away. You can tell that he's amped up to get to college and compete for an NCAA title, a national title. Someone else asked how long he thinks he needs to mature and he said, obviously he needs at least one year, but he said maybe two years. He's taking it year-by-year. He said if he goes and is lights out after his freshman year and hits all the steps and markers that he needs to hit then he would consider it then. But in his mind, I think he's looking at two years. I don't know what management things, but obviously there's nothing better than developing at the college level, especially with that level of competition.

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Former Finnish Teammates Drafted by Devils | FEATURE

Samu Salminen and Topias Vilen, selections from day two of the NHL Draft have experience playing with each other on Finland's Under-16 National Team

by Catherine Bogart catherinebogart / NewJerseyDevils.com

During the third and fifth founds of the 2021 NHL Draft, New Jersey selected two Finnish players to join the Devils family. Center Samu Salminen (third round, 68th overall) and defenseman Topias Vilen (fifth round, 129th overall) are two of the five European players drafted on Day 2.

Devils Director of European Scouting, Greg Royce, told media the leadership qualities and hockey skills that factored in for each to be picked by the franchise.

"Samu is a big center who plays a two-way game" said Royce. "At the U-18 with the national team he was the No. 1 center on the team. He was a leader, killed penalties, played power play. He's a big body…We believe that he can be a top second- or third-line player."

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Day 2 Themes I THREE THINGS

The Devils filled out their draft card on Saturday and we take a look at New Jersey's five choices from Day 2

by Sam Kasan @SamiKasan / NewJerseyDevils.com

The Devils concluded the 2021 NHL Draft by selecting five players in rounds 3-7 on Saturday afternoon. In all, the club chose seven players over the weekend, highlighted by defenseman Luke Hughes and forward Chase Stillman in Friday's first round.

The club filled out their draft card on Saturday and we take a look at New Jersey's five choices from Day 2 in the latest edition of Three Things, presented Wawa.

Video: Adding to the Arsenal | DRAFT

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Videos and Articles from the 2021 NHL Draft Weekend

As the content rolls in throughout NHL Draft Weekend, we've got you covered right here

by Staff / NewJerseyDevils.com

The Devils held the fourth overall and 29th overall selections Friday's first day of the 2021 NHL Draft with five more picks on Saturday, taking a total of seven players in total. 

All the videos and articles added throughout the weekend are linked up here and available below as well as highlights of some past content you may have missed. 

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Draft Day 2 Recap I DRAFT

Get a glimpse at the players the Devils selected on Day 2 of the 2021 NHL Draft

by Staff / NewJerseyDevils.com

The Devils made a splash on Day 1 of the NHL Draft after selecting Team USA defenseman Luke Hughes, brother of the team's star center Jack, with the fourth-overall pick. New Jersey followed that up by using a second first-round pick (29th overall) to take tenacious forward Chase Stillman

Both moves address some organizational needs for defensive depth and add toughness to the future lineup. And it doesn't hurt that both players come from hockey bloodlines, whether it's the Hughes brothers or Stillman following in his father's footstep, former NHLer Cory. 

On Day 2, the Devils will fill out their draft card. Here's a look at who New Jersey added to the fold on Saturday. 

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Devils Address Needs on Day 1 of NHL Draft I DRAFT

The Devils selected two players in the first round of the NHL Draft with both players fitting organizational needs

by Sam Kasan @SamiKasan / NewJerseyDevils.com

The Devils had a few areas of their organization that they wanted to address in the offseason, whether it was via trade, draft or free agency. Two of those - adding a high-end, puck-moving defensive prosect and adding a tough, physical tenacious player - were at the forefront of Day 1 of the 2021 NHL Draft.

The Devils used their two first-round picks on defenseman Luke Hughes (fourth overall) and forward Chase Stillman(29th overall). Hughes will give the Devils that blue-chip blue line prospect for the future. Stillman will give them a hungry, energetic and punishing presence.

"The common thing is the commitment to the game," Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald said at the night's conclusion. "They're two players that have skill. Having skill is one thing. But (having) drive, passion for the game. There's something to be said about bloodlines, too."

Video: Tom Fitzgerald Draft Day 1 Media Avail | DRAFT

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Luke Hughes' Draft Hopes Come True I DRAFT

Hughes' dream of being selected by New Jersey and playing with his brother Jack in the future came to fruition

by Sam Kasan @SamiKasan / NewJerseyDevils.com

When the Devils were awarded the fourth-overall selection in the 2021 NHL Draft following the annual lottery, Luke Hughes had a wish.

"I was certainly hopeful that I'd get picked to the Devils," he admitted. "Watching my brothers go through this (draft process) and seeing what happened with Quinn, where we thought he was going to go and where he actually went, you never know until your name gets called.

"I never knew until my name was called."

Luke's name was called. Fourth. By the Devils.

"I'm super excited to be a part of the Devils franchise and play in New Jersey," he said. "They're a young team and I'm super excited to be a part of that and try to win with them in a couple years."

Video: Luke Hughes 1-on-1 | DRAFT

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Family Affair I THREE THINGS

The first round of the NHL Draft for New Jersey can be best summed up as a family affair of brothers and hockey bloodlines

by Sam Kasan @SamiKasan / NewJerseyDevils.com

Day 1 of the 2021 NHL Draft was Friday night, and the Devils two selections (Nos. 4 and 29) can best be summed up as a family affair. It was a night of brothers, sons and NHL bloodlines.

We cover that and more in our NHL Draft Day 1, presented by Wawa.

Video: New Jersey Devils draft D Luke Hughes No. 4

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Stillman Continues Family Tradition with Draft Selection | FEATURE

The Devils 29th overall pick is the fourth member of his family to be drafted in the NHL

by Catherine Bogart catherinebogart / NewJerseyDevils.com

To say the New Jersey Devils' 29th-overall pick Chase Stillman comes from a hockey family is an understatement.

Stillman's grandfather, Bud Stefanski, played nine seasons in the AHL. Chase's father, Cory, played 19 seasons in the NHL with six different franchises. His brother, Riley, was drafted in 2016 by the Florida Panthers and finished the 2020-21 season with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Heading into his own draft, Stillman has recent memories of his brother's draft experience and there are plenty of people in his life he could turn to for advice on what to expect.

Video: Chase Stillman Raw Interview | DRAFT

"Keep level headed through it," Stillman said of the advice he received. "There's going to be ups and downs in the draft and players are going to go ahead of you or some even might go later that should have gone ahead, and you know it all depends on what team needs what player. For me to go into that situation, it's a perfect opportunity for me and I think I can come in and step in and hopefully be able to help this team out."

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Luke Hughes Selected by New Jersey with Fourth Pick I DRAFT

Devils address defense with selection of (another) Hughes

by Sam Kasan @SamiKasan / NewJerseyDevils.com

With the fourth-overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, the New Jersey Devils selected defenseman Luke Hughes from the USA National Team Development Program.

The Devils needed to add to their organizational depth at defense: Luke Hughes. The Devils needed a blue-chip two-way defender that can skate well: Luke Hughes. The Devils will make one of their franchise cornerstones, Jack Hughes, happy by reuniting him with his brother, Luke.

Video: Hughes brothers on Luke's selection to Devils

Luke Hughes, who is the youngest player of this year's draft class after barely making the cutoff date by six days, checks all the boxes on what the Devils needed and desired.

"I've been to the (Prudential Center). I know the franchise pretty well," Hughes told the media earlier this month. "I know Jack loves it in New Jersey. It's a really cool rink, a really cool fanbase. That would certainly be exciting."

Video: Top Plays from Luke Hughes

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