The Devils selected Hughes with the No. 1 pick of the 2019 NHL Draft after he led the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team with 112 points (34 goals, 78 assists) in 50 games in 2018-19.
Born in Orlando, Florida, Hughes holds NTDP records for assists (154) and points (228) in 110 games over two seasons. He was the fifth NTDP player selected No. 1 (Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs, 2016; Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks, 2007; Erik Johnson, St. Louis Blues, 2006; Rick DiPietro, New York Islanders, 2000).