5 Things That Must Happen For New Jersey Devils To Win Stanley Cup

New Jersey Devils watch a Stanley Cup Champions banner (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
New Jersey Devils watch a Stanley Cup Champions banner (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils Jack Hughes
Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images) /

3. Nico Hischier And Jack Hughes Need To Become Stars

This one is key. Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes can’t be “on the cusp” or “budding superstars” for this to work. They need to become two great centers in this league. They are both number-one overall picks. To win it all, they need to play like the best players in their draft year.

Hischier needs to become a Selke-worthy center who makes his linemates much better. He was really good with Taylor Hall during his rookie season, but has he gotten better in the two seasons since? Maybe he got better defensively, but that’s not how you build a star in the NHL. Now that he’s good at killing penalties, how about we teach Hischier how to put some points on the board.

Speaking of points on the board, he needs to double them. He scored 36 points last season. For the Devils to be an actual Cup contender, he needs to get himself to 70 points. Well, let’s call it a 70-point pace to be fair. On the other hand, 70 points in 56 games would be very helpful. Hischier has to not only make his teammates better, but he has to make them immensely better. Do you know how Sidney Crosby can turn Conor Sheary into a competent goal scorer? Hischier has to do that for whoever ends up on his line.

As for Jack Hughes, it’s obvious he needs to be better. He scored 21 points in his rookie season. That’s gross. It was obvious that Hughes was going to take some time to get acclimated to the NHL style of play. He’s the first player to jump from the U.S. National Development Program right to the NHL. Now, he needs to live up to his billing. He gets a reprieve for the dumpster fire that was last season.

Hughes needs to score somewhere in the 40-point range in this 56-game season. He needs to set up his linemates for scoring opportunities, and more importantly, he needs to score goals himself. Those 40 points should be split 20 and 20 between goals and assists. This type of season would help the Devils fast forward the rebuild.