The 2018 offseason gave New Jersey Devils fans hope that had been absent for years. After making the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, the rebuild had seemed to roll faster than expected. After a disappointing 2018-19 season, the Devils looked to make moves in the 2019 offseason to set them on top of the competition. After trading for former Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban and KHL MVP Nikita Gusev, the Devils culminated a good offseason by drafting Jack Hughes first overall in the NHL Draft. He was the consensus first-overall pick in a solid 2019 NHL Entry Draft, and even showed flashes of Patrick Kane and Connor McDavid during his time with the U.S. National Development Team. Even though he has not lived up to his “superstar potential” yet, this season carries optimism never seen before. Here’s three reasons why Jack Hughes will breakout in this upcoming season.
1. A Great Rebound
Jack Hughes’ rookie season did not light the world on fire. In 61 games, he netted 7 goals and posted 14 helpers for a whopping 21 points. He also carried a horrendous -26 +/- rating. Hughes’ first year was on par with Joe Thornton’s rookie year (7 points in 56 games). To his defense, it’s very hard to make the jump from USNTDP to the NHL. In his rookie season, he played with multiple linemates, his best player was traded, his head coach was fired midseason, and the pressure on his shoulders was insurmountable.
After adding 12 pounds of muscle in the offseason, he came back and was instantly better. He finished last season with 31 points in 56 games. At times, he was the best player on the ice from either team. As the season went on not only did Jack’s confidence grow, but Lindy Ruff and his staff grew more confident in Jack. Giving him tough minutes in every situation. His dynamic skating wowed everyone every time he stepped on the ice. With a regular off season and training camp with second year coach Lindy Ruff, lookout for Hughes to put up even more points.