The New Jersey Devils lost Jack Hughes on Friday night after already dealing with a Nico Hischier injury. Now, the rest of the team must step up.
The New Jersey Devils had a terrible night on Friday. Not only did they lose to the terrible St. Louis Blues, but they lost star Jack Hughes in the first period. Right now, we have no idea how long he’ll be out. It could be a shoulder injury, a concussion, or a collarbone injury. We got no update from Lindy Ruff or the national reporters. All we know is Saturday is a big day to see the severity of it.
Things aren’t looking good. Nico Hischier is already missing this road trip, so he won’t be back for another two games. With the Devils two top centers and biggest stars out for who knows how long, other players need to step up. Who’s at the top of the Devils list to replace the top scorer in the NHL?
With the Devils losing its top two centers, New Jersey will look internally at who might be able to play with the stars on this team. Timo Meier and Jesper Bratt can drive play. They just need to have someone who can get them the puck. Michael McLeod is already playing in Hischier’s spot, and he’s doing an admirable job. However, he’s built to replace Hischier’s effectiveness at a much smaller level.
Nobody on the Devils roster can replace Hughes. He’s leading the league in points. 20 points in 9.3 games is insane. Now, the Devils must look at who can do any fraction of that. Erik Haula has been put in this position before, playing center on the top line for part of last season.
Haula has been really good this season. He has five goals in nine games. He’s been doing it in a third-line role. Now, he needs to be in between two superstars. It’ll likely be Timo Meier and Tyler Toffoli, as the Devils will want to keep the lines together. Can Haula keep the scoring going while Hughes is out? Honestly, he just needs to keep winning faceoffs and getting possession for Meier and Toffoli.