Superstar Jack Hughes has joined the New Jersey Devils back in practice in a regular contact jersey since being sidelined with an upper-body injury dating back to Jan. 5.
Hughes landed awkwardly during the game against the Chicago Blackhawks and missed the following month. He was supposed to attend the All-Star skills and games events, but decided to stay home after the first night of the weekend because he wanted to get back to Jersey to continue his healing process.
The Devils have played in 11 games without Hughes during this stretch and had a record of 4-6-1. He has not been the only player out for the Devils, but his return will definitely boost the deflated offense.
Before Hughes’ injury he collected 45 points, 15 goals and 30 assists, in 32 games. In the beginning of the season some even said his name would be in the Hart Trophy conversation.
This is not Hughes’ first injury of the season. He also missed time earlier this year because of another upper-body injury which is not connected to his current injury. During that injury, he missed only five games.
If the Devils are looking to make a playoff push, the team has to hope Hughes comes back on fire and ready to play. The Devils have one of the hardest schedules in the league from now until the end of the season, so the entire team needs to be producing again.
With the return of Hughes, not only will the offense be taken to another level, it will help with balancing out the lines again. With the absence of other players recently, head coach Lindy Ruff has had to shuffle the lines around many times to find some balance in the lineup. With Hughes centering an offensive forward line, that will give captain Nico Hischier the opportunity to center a defensive forward line.
The Devils take on the Calgary Flames on Thursday with hopes of pulling off another win after an impressive team effort against one of the top teams in the league, the Colorado Avalanche. It is unsure if Hughes will be playing in that game, but he will continue to practice with the team.