Should New Jersey Devils Shut Down Jack Hughes?

The New Jersey Devils season is basically over, and Jack Hughes is clearly playing below his talent level. With an injury possibly the problem, should Hughes just get w]=-0\]888
Ottawa Senators v New Jersey Devils
Ottawa Senators v New Jersey Devils / Adam Hunger/GettyImages

The New Jersey Devils have been a litany of disappointment this season. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. It started with injuries and inconsistent play from the defense and the goaltenders. It kept getting worse, and while the Eastern Conference has been pretty awful this season, the Devils still have basically no shot to make the playoffs.

So, now the Devils have to do what's best for the future of the franchise. This includes giving young players more opportunities and testing players to see if they should get a shot with the team next season. Tom Fitzgerald should be in evaluation mode, and that includes for interim head coach Travis Green.

One player that doesn't need evaluation? Jack Hughes. The Devils star player is really good and the future of this franchise lies on his shoulders.

Speaking of shoulder, he's dealt with some shoulder injuries this season, and it's clear he's been laboring for most of the season. Recently, he has been getting points, but he's doing it while avoiding risks to his health. He hasn't taken a faceoff in over a month. When a player gets kicked out of the circle, the guy opposite of Hughes takes the faceoff. That's how Jesper Bratt and Alexander Holtz have faceoffs under their belt.

Now that the playoffs are pretty much out of reach, should the Devils even keep going with the motions with the current lineup? Hughes is still impacting the on-ice product, but will hs presence hurt him next season?

Obviously, only the Devils and those inside the room know what's wrong with Hughes. Is this something that will require surgery to fix or just rest? How long will it take to recover from surgery? Hughes has been shut down with injuries in the past, but it never came within the Devils competition window.

The Devils are, like we said, evaluating Green to see if he should be the permanent head coach after Lindy Ruff was fired. Would Fitzgerald take away his best player during the evaluation period if he absolutely doesn't have to?

Hughes has been sitting out some practices, and he has been doing all he can to be ready for game day, but it might be too much for a team that's not really playing for anything besides pride at this point. If Hughes can't hurt his injury more than it currently is, then it might be good to just finish the season as strong as possible. Basically, the actual injury will dictate how the Devils deal with Hughes for the rest of the season.

The Devils loss to Buffalo on Friday really showed where this team is at. A win would have put them within four points of Philadelphia with a game in hand and a game against the Flyers still on the schedule. They would have controlled their own destiny to a point (ignoring the Red Wings a little here, but still). Now, it's time to put everything we never thought would even come up on the table. That includes calling it a season for Jack Hughes.