Imagine if I told you at the beginning of the season the New Jersey Devils would have a week where they gave up eight goals in a drubbing, would blow a 6-2 lead in the third period, and would lose Jack Hughes in a pretty questionable hit with just a few weeks before the season ends. Oh, and we lost to Cory Schneider in his first NHL game since he played for the Devils. It’s hard to come up with a regular season week as bad as this. There hasn’t been a week this bad in years. There are have been singular bad moments like losing on free agents or “surprise retirements”, but the feeling of the past three games is hard to top.
Seeing Hughes get hurt with what looks like a knee-to-knee hit from Oliver Wahlstrom just put the icing on the cake from this terrible week. There’s no salvaging the rest of the season, but now it’s even worse. At this point, the Devils would be best to get out of the year with as few injuries and most development as possible.
That’s what hurts the most about the Hughes injury. This likely robs him of his first 30-goal season, and also the first 30-goal season since Taylor Hall‘s MVP season in 2018. He has 26 goals and was averaging more than one goal every two games. He was going to hit it barring an injury. And, well, there’s the injury.
Hughes tried to give it a go after the hit, but his shift was extremely short and he left for the rest of the game.
The rest of the season is losing more and more value. With Hughes hurt, and Lindy Ruff‘s fate basically sealed after this week, there’s just really nothing to play for. What we have to look forwards to is Jesper Bratt‘s quest to his a point per game and Dougie Hamilton finding his groove is about all we can look forward to at this point.
This season has been a drag. It’s only getting worse somehow. Andrew Hammond is not the answer in net, Nico Daws is struggling more, and the team is borderline unwatchable on a nightly basis. With Hughes out of the lineup, this team just needs to make it to the end. It’s sad, because once the season is over we will miss watching Devils hockey. It’s just that this season has gone so bad for so many reasons, and the team needs a reset in the worst possible way.