NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — With Jack Hughes in the New Jersey Devils’ development camp, it’s easy to overlook Ty Smith.
Hughes was the No. 1 overall selection in the draft last month and much is expected of the playmaking center. It’s almost certain he will be on the Devils’ roster when the regular season opens in October and the packed-crowd at the team’s training rink in the Prudential Center roared on Wednesday when he was introduced before a four-team, 3-on-3 competition.
Much like the other three dozen young players at the weeklong gathering, the 19-year-old Smith received polite applause.
What people tend to forget is Smith was the Devils’ first-round pick a year ago — 17th overall — and he nearly made the roster after a tremendous training camp.
A year later, Smith may be ready to take that next step. The puck-moving defenseman has added about 8 pounds since last year and he is coming off a great season in the Western Hockey League. He had seven goals and a career-high 62 assists, the second-highest single-season total in league history.
Devils coach John Hynes said Smith appears to have matured in the past year,…