Newark, NJ – ESPNs Kevin Weekes first reported the New Jersey Devils, and Erik Haula are closing in on a three-year contract extension.
New Jersey Hockey Now has also learned per a source that Haula has inked a new three-year, $9.4 million extension with the Devils. Haula has full no-trade protection in the first two seasons of his new contract. Then, a six-team no-trade clause in 2025-26.
Haula (32) was traded to the Devils last summer from the Boston Bruins in exchange for forward Pavel Zacha. In 80 games for the Devils during the 2022-23 season, Haula scored 14 goals and 41 points. The Finnish forward also led the Devils in points during the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the rival New York Rangers. Haula scored four goals and six points in the Devils 4-3 series win.
Haula’s three-year contract will finally give him some stability. In the last six seasons, Haula played for five different teams. Those teams include the Devils, Bruins, Vegas Golden Knights, Carolina Hurricanes, and Florida Panthers. Having a sense of security in New Jersey was important for Haula and his family.
“It was a huge deal to have security,” Haula explained following his extension. “We bounced around quite a bit and just to have the ability to be able to look into housing and get my family all set up (is a relief). We’re really excited about how it all ended up and I’m just really excited to be back.”
Following exit interviews, Haula was adamant that he wanted to remain in New Jersey.
“I don’t want to play for any other team,” Haula explained on break-up day. “I want to come back here. It seems like the right spot for me and this is my family, I don’t want to leave. I was just in (Fitzgerald’s) office and I was like ‘Hey, let’s get it done.’ Whenever he gives the call, that’d be great. Hopefully, we can do it sooner than later so I can get my living situation in order and make my wife happy.”
Fitzgerald echoed the sentiment that much like Haula, he wanted the forward to return as well.
“I’ll start by saying I would make that trade seven days a week, twice on Sunday,” Fitzgerald said of Haula. “He is and was the player type that we needed to help us continue to move the ship forward. He wasn’t hiding how much he wants to come back. I told him and his agent ‘I will sit down, we will talk.'”
Haula and Fitzgerald weren’t the only ones that wanted to see the veteran forward return. Devils franchise forward Jack Hughes wanted Haula back as well as they formed some on and off-ice chemistry.
“I’m a huge Erik Haula fan,” Hughes explained.
“He’s just a character guy and he fit really well in our locker room and that’s a guy we should bring back for sure.”
Despite an 11-year difference in their age, Haula and Hughes’ friendship continues to grow.
“He is someone I’m in communication with during the summer,” said Haula. “He was one of my first texts when we got the deal done. Can’t say enough about him. I’m just fortunate enough to play with a player like that and he’s only going to get better.”
Now, the focus is on getting some well-deserved rest in the summer, training, and coming back in September in shape for training camp. 2022-23 was the first (huge) step in the right direction to winning a championship. That was a huge factor in Haula’s decision to remain in New Jersey for the next three years.
“I always talk about just having a chance to compete for a cup and I think this is a place where I’m going to have an opportunity to do that for multiple years to come,” Haula explained. “I’m excited about the direction of the team and where we’re headed.”