New Jersey Devils: 5 Players Team Can’t Afford To Get Injured

Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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The New Jersey Devils were devastated by injuries in 2021-22. This season, they need to stay relatively healthy to hit their goals. 

This season is very important for the New Jersey Devils. We’ve now gone through ten full seasons since the Devils made a surprise run to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final (well, three were technically shortened, but that’s beside the point). Since then, it took an MVP effort from Taylor Hall to make the playoffs. Making the postseason once in ten seasons, and getting knocked out in five games at that, is a terrible outcome. The Devils have had three GMs in that time, three head coaches, three captains, and a countless amount of expectations, none of which were fulfilled.

This season is supposed to be where the “rebuild” finally ends. Well, three seasons ago was supposed to be that and the Devils ended up being out of the playoffs halfway through the year. Then last season was supposed to be when they finally made strides, but this team was an afterthought come December.

The difference was that last season the Devils were destroyed by injuries. The goalie injuries really put the Devils on their heels. Putting Dougie Hamilton on IR after his immaculate start really put the defense behind the eight ball. Only one player actually played every game, and that was rookie Dawson Mercer. The worst of all was losing Jack Hughes on two different occasions. Hughes was in the middle of his breakout year, and losing him again this year would be heartbreaking.

New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86): (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports) /

Jack Hughes

Hughes can’t face another season with major injuries if the Devils want to go anywhere. The Devils are already dealing with a Nico Hischier injury. “Cramps” turned into the end of the captain’s preseason, and now we have no idea if he is going to be ready for opening night. However, with Dawson Mercer and Eric Haula in the lineup, the Devils can survive without Hischier for a short time. They cannot survive without Hughes.

Hughes is going to be the top player on the team all season. He’s the one who drives the offense. The power play is going to live and die with Jack Hughes. If he breaks into that next tier of superstar and becomes a top-ten center, then the Devils will likely be in contention all season. If he misses half the season again, it’s likely the Devils are in trouble.