5 New Jersey Devils players who must bring their A-Game after the All-Star Break

The New Jersey Devils have dramatically fallen below expectations this season for a multitude of reasons, so a few players must help them return to form.

Jan 27, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Jesper Bratt (63) is congratulated
Jan 27, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Jesper Bratt (63) is congratulated / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
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Luke Hughes must overachieve down the stretch

Last season, Luke Hughes got his first taste of the NHL, when he recorded two points and a goal in a pair of regular season contests. He also logged a pair of helpers in three playoff games while sustaining 19:15 of average total ice time, foreshadowing a potential leap in 2023-24. 

It’s safe to say Hughes has more than lived up to expectations, but with the Devils struggling at the All-Star Break, it’s time for him to take his play up another level. Although Hughes has just 49 games of regular season experience and he’s still technically learning the demands of the NHL, he has also shown this shouldn’t be too tall of an obstacle for him. 

He’s getting 20:40 of average total ice time, proving he can play and sustain top-four minutes, and since the new year, that number has grown to 22:39. Hughes has, however, scored just five points in his previous 12 games, which isn’t as effective as the 21 he scored in his first 35. 

Given his overall productivity this season, there is little doubt Hughes will continue to pitch in on scoring plays. If that occurs and if he continues to sustain the amount of ice time recently expected from him, the entire team will benefit.