New Jersey Devils: Revisiting Preseason Bold Predictions

P.K. Subban #76 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
P.K. Subban #76 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Prediction: Jack Hughes Will Be The Top-Line Center All Season

The New Jersey Devils were starting the season without Nico Hischier for the unforeseen future. He was dealing with some kind of leg injury (which turned out to be a broken fibula), and his return date was undetermined on opening night. That left the Devils with a hole at the center position that had to be filled by Jack Hughes.

He was not what anyone hoped he’d be in his rookie season, but he was given a 10-month break from traditional hockey probably for the first time in his life. He was able to focus on building his body to be ready to play in the NHL. He was talking about his muscle gains in the offseason during training camp. The excitement was real.

The season has been up and down for Hughes, but he has absolutely been the number one center this season. He plays more than 19 minutes per night, which is more than any other forward. He is second to Pavel Zacha in points with 16 in 29 games. It’s not the best number, but it’s much, much better than where he was last season.

The real issue is finding him wingers. According to Natural Stat Trick, he’s spent more than 20 minutes of ice time with nine different wingers. He’s spent the majority of his time with Kyle Palmieri and Andreas Johnsson, who might be the two most snake-bitten players on the team. He’d have more points if his wingers were more consistent and he trusted them more, but it is what he is. He’s clearly the number-one center.

Conclusion: Spot On