New Jersey Devils: Jack Hughes Needs To Break Out In 2021

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 17: Kaapo Kakko #24 of the New York Rangers skates against Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils during the second period at the Prudential Center on October 17, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 17: Kaapo Kakko #24 of the New York Rangers skates against Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils during the second period at the Prudential Center on October 17, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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The New Jersey Devils need Jack Hughes to have a breakout season in 2021.

The New Jersey Devils were very lucky to be the lottery winners in 2019. They selected Jack Hughes with the first overall pick out of the United States National Development Program. He had a rookie season filled with ups and downs. The offensive numbers weren’t great but there were moments where his puck control and pure skill were on display. He looks like the type of player who has the tools to be one of the best offensive players in the world.

Training Camp is officially underway for the seven teams that weren’t invited to the Return to Play bubble. There have been a lot of nice quotes to come out of it but some of the information about Jack Hughes should excite all of the fans. During the offseason, he has apparently put on anywhere from 14-16 lbs of muscle. That is good for a kid his age looking to take the next step in the NHL.

Hughes literally told reporters like Mike Morreale with NHL.com that he is looking to have a “breakout season” this year.

"“I mean, this year was important for me mentally and physically to get ready for a big year. I’m excited and confident and ready to have a breakout year.”"

That is bad news for the rest of the league. If Hughes really does reach his offensive potential and Nico Hischier becomes that elite two-way forward that we know he can become, this team will be so good with two great pillars down the middle.

What would a breakout season look like for Hughes? Well, it is hard to say. Nobody is saying he needs to be a point per game player in year two (although it would be nice), but he definitely needs to have better production this year than he had in year one. It is only a 56 game season so it would be nice to see him get anywhere from 45-50 points. He is certainly capable of having more points than that and he certainly believes he can.

The fact that he put on some muscle isn’t going to help him make plays, but it should be able to help him with puck possession and positioning. He also needs to be better with his decision making when the puck is on his stick. There were plenty of times last season where he does something great to gain the zone but then made a bad pass. It would also be nice to see him on a line with wingers that can take advantage of his elite playmaking.

light. Related Story. The Training Camp roster is out for the New Jersey Devils

Most people don’t think that the Devils are going to be anywhere near the playoffs. They may be right, but something that might make those people wrong is the development of the young stars. Hughes is one of those stars that the Devils rely on heavily in the present and future. The fact that he feels good about his game going into the season is definitely a great sign. Hopefully, his prediction of a good season comes true.