Jack Hughes & Devils Are Done With Meaningless Hockey

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New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86) skates across the ice during an NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars, Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, in Dallas.
(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Rachael Millanta @rachaelmillanta Feb 02, 2023, 8:34 PM
  • Jack Hughes is making his second appearance at the NHL All-Star Game.
  • Hughes signed an eight-year contract with the New Jersey Devils in Nov. 2021.
  • He currently leads the team in goals, points, and shots.

This is New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes’ second appearance at the All-Star Game, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less exciting than the first.

“I’ve been here before, and I’m really having a special year right now,” Hughes told me in Fort Lauderdale. “Every All-Star Game you get to go to is obviously a major blessing, but this one being my second one is pretty cool. I hope to have a lot more in the future.”

With the way Hughes has been playing, recognition continuing into the future is likely something he can count on. The 5-foot-11 center signed an eight-year, $64 million contract with the Devils on Nov. 30, 2021, and with the team continuing to climb the standings after a rough start to the season, a Stanley Cup appearance in 2023 isn’t out of the question.

Jack Hughes Stats

Through 49 games in the 2022-23 season, Hughes has recorded 33 goals, 31 assists, 64 points, and 220 shots. He leads the Devils in goals, points, and shots and is tied in second place for assists alongside left winger Jesper Bratt, only behind defenseman Dougie Hamilton.

“I had a pretty good year last year too; it’s just I got injured, had a couple of injuries and missed a bunch of games, but if you take that away, I had a pretty bang-up year,” Hughes reflected, referring to the shoulder dislocation in October 2021 that saw him miss 17 games. “Now it’s just my growth and continuing to get better. I’m 21 right now — by the time I’m 25, I hope to be a much different player.”

And what sort of player does Hughes think he’ll be at 25?

“We’ll see how many points I put up this year and then I’ll let you know,” he joked. “I’ll get better as time goes on, and you know, we’ll see where it goes.”

New Jersey Devils Record

As of the All-Star Break, the Devils are fourth in the league and second in the Metropolitan division with a record of 32-13-4. That’s a pretty significant turnaround from the start of the season when consecutive losses to the Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings saw fans chanting “Fire Lindy!” at head coach Lindy Ruff.

Despite the negative reaction, it didn’t take the Devils long to turn it around, and the team’s current record puts them in a better position at the All-Star Break than they’ve been in years. The “Sorry, Lindy!” chants from the crowd after the comeback were a nice touch, too. 

“We’ve been playing meaningless hockey after the All-Star Break the last couple of years, so I feel we’re in the race now, and we’re in a better place,” Hughes said. “That’s really exciting for our group. We’re really pumped to be in that situation, and we’re excited for it.”

“I’ve never been in this position before, so I think a lot of us are just living and learning,” Hughes continued. “We gave ourselves a pretty good cushion right now where we can just keep playing well and keep doing our thing and we’ll be in a good spot by the end of the year.”

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About the Author

Rachael Millanta

Read More @rachaelmillanta

Rachael Millanta is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM focusing on Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. Her work has been published in SB Nation, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Slackjaw Humor. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Rachael now resides in Chicago, Illinois.

Rachael Millanta is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM focusing on Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. Her work has been published in SB Nation, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Slackjaw Humor. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Rachael now resides in Chicago, Illinois.