The New Jersey Devils never had a 100-point scorer. The record for points in a season is still held by Patrik Elias, who scored 96 points in 2000-01. It seemed pretty obvious it was going to happen this season. Jack Hughes was on an incredible pace for most of the year. He was sure to hit over 100 points.
Then, he suffered a minor injury. No big deal. Hughes only missed a few weeks. He was going to get right back into the lineup. He did, but the production was never at the same pace. Prior to his injury, Hughes had 67 points in 50 games. That’s good for 1.34 points per game. If he could keep that pace all season, he would have scored a ridiculous 110 points.
Since the injury, Hughes has 23 points in 23 games. It’s still good to score a point per game, but it’s pretty far from a 100-point pace.
Right now, Hughes is 10 points away from 100 with five games to go. It’s a tall task, but 100 points is still somewhat possible. He needs to play at an incredible pace. Hughes only has seven multi-point games since returning from injury on February 18th. That doesn’t bode well for Hughes hitting 100.
Let’s look at the opponents. The Devils face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night. Hughes has played the Penguins three times this season, and he’s had a multi-point game in all of them. That’s good news. After that, he faces the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets. They just started Jon Gillies in net, so that should help Hughes’ quest to 100.
The Devils face Boston on Saturday. Hughes has struggled, scoring one goal with zero assists in two previous games against the top team in the NHL.
The final two games of the regular season come against the desperate Buffalo Sabres and the likely eliminated Washington Capitals. Hughes played the Sabres on March 24th, and he had two goals and an assist. Only six teams allow more goals than the Sabres this season. Despite their desperation, they can’t keep other teams off the board.
Meanwhile, the Capitals allow 3.1 goals per game. That’s right around the middle of the pack. Hughes played the Caps three times. He has zero points in two games. He had a hat trick in the other. These are very different results (obviously).
So, looking at the picture as a whole, Hughes has a chance to hit 100, but he likely needs at least three points against two of three of the Penguins, Sabres and Blue Jackets. Then, he would need four points in the remaining three games. So, is 100 points possible? Sure, but everything needs to go perfectly.