Jack Hughes is one of the favorites to win MVP in just about every sportsbook. Connor McDavid is still ahead of him, but that’s it. It’s not a big surprise why. Hughes has 17 points in six games played. It’s so good; we’re talking about him in the same vein as prime Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. This is one of the best starts of all time.
If we told Devils fans this was the torrid pace that Hughes is on, most would think the Devils went 5-1 or 6-0 even. Instead, the Devils are 3-2-1. Hughes is doing his best to put the team on his back, and it’s just jumping right off.
There were a lot of players to blame for some of the losses. The last game was a cavalcade of terrible play after terrible play. Brendan Smith was often out of position, and it led to multiple games. John Marino made mistakes that left his goalies out to dry. It was another terrible first period, as the Devils gave up a 3-0 lead into the first intermission.
Of course, the Devils came back and took the lead in the second period, but they gave it up just as quickly in the third. Again, Hughes did his best to carry the Devils to victory. Unfortunately, his three assists in 21 minutes of ice time weren’t enough to win.
It’s a theme this season. Hughes is averaging 2.3 points in losses. He’s averaging 3.3 points in wins. So, yes, he is a little better in the wins than the losses, but Hughes is hardly the problem.
The Devils have won the chance game in each contest so far this season. They are getting into the offensive zone and getting shots on net. However, their three worst games in terms of CorsiFor are the three losses. The Devils offense is dominating play, but they have to really dominate play in order to win games.
That comes down to the defense. The defense has not lived up to its value this season. That means the offense has to be otherworldly in order to win. Hughes definitely qualifies for that category, as does the power play, but the rest of the team’s 5v5 scoring is below par.
The Devils have nine goals at 5v5. That’s pretty bad over six games. It’s even worse when you see Hughes was on the ice for six of them. Nico Hischier‘s line has struggled, as has the third line. It can’t be all on Hughes. The Devils’ .500 record makes that clear.
Hopefully, Hughes is close to this good all season. The rest of the team will pick it up. They are too talented to continue playing this way.