New Jersey Devils: Yegor Sharangovich Needs Jack Hughes, and Hughes Needs Yegor

New Jersey Devils center Yegor Sharangovich (17): Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils center Yegor Sharangovich (17): Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Jersey Devils rough start to the season can be attributed to two things over anything else. One was injuries. Both goalies have been out at times, and it appears Jonathan Bernier may never come back this season. Jack Hughes was out for more than a month. More than half of the team has missed time with either injuries or COVID protocols. Then, there are the players who haven’t lived up to the hype. One player who was the poster boy for that is Yegor Sharangovich.

He struggled mightily to start the season. It probably didn’t help that Hughes got knocked out of the lineup within four periods of the season. He’s been incredibly streaky all season, and it’s come in the worst possible way. Pavel Zacha is streaky, but he still contributes something on a nightly basis. Sharangovich goes from superstar to invisible from week to week.

Four times this season, Sharangovich has points in back-to-back games. He has one other point. As in, he’s only scored in one other game besides those back-to-back games with points. He’s gone on a nine-game pointless streak, a five-game pointless streak, and a four-game pointless streak. Those streaks cannot happen for the rest of the season, and it appears they shouldn’t now that Sharangovich is back with Jack Hughes.

According to Natural Stat Trick, Sharangovich has played roughly 239 minutes without Jack Hughes and 99 minutes with Jack Hughes. Without Jack Hughes, Sharangovich has been on the ice for 8 goals for the Devils and 14 goals against the Devils. With Hughes, he’s on the ice for 5 goals and just 2 goals against. All those stats are at even strength.

The high-danger chances tell an even clearer story. When Sharagovich is on the ice with Hughes, they have 60% of the high-danger chances. When Sharangovich is without Hughes, it’s just 51%.

It’s not even the fact of a superstar player lifting up his counterpart. Hughes is much better with Sharangovich on the ice as well. Hughes’ Corsi, high-danger chances, and goal-scoring stats are all higher with Sharangovich. They are the top line when they are together. When they aren’t together, either Nico Hischier‘s line or Dawson Mercer‘s line has to take over as the top line on the team.

One of the most eye-opening stats is Hughes shoots 5% without Sharangovich and 10% with him. Shooting percentage has some random qualities to it, but a disparity like that shows there is some truth within those numbers. Sharangovich helps get Hughes into better positions to score.

dark. Next. Ryan Graves A Welcome Addition To Lineup

Who knows who else should be on a line with Hughes right now. They had Jesper Bratt playing on the line on Wednesday against the Buffalo Sabres, and they were magic together. It was by far the best line on the ice for either team by every possible metric. They scored two goals at even strength and allowed none. It’s clear that Lindy Ruff should keep Hughes and Sharangovich together for as long as possible.