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Devils’ Jack Hughes Calls His Shot for the 2023-24 NHL Season

Jack Hughes aims to be the first New Jersey Devil with a 100-point season after falling just one short last year.

New Jersey Devils’ superstar Jack Hughes is setting his sights on a historic achievement as he aims to become the first player in franchise history to achieve a 100-point season. Hughes, who fell just one point short of this milestone in the previous season, expressed his determination during a recent appearance on the “32 Thoughts” podcast.

Ready for the upcoming year, Hughes felt he left a little on the table last season. He told Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek, “I’m a competitive person, so definitely a little like, ‘Damn,’ you know? I wanted that because I’m competitive. You’re so close, and you dream of being a star and you want to be a 100-point guy. He added, “I believe I will be. I just gotta stay on the path I’m on and keep my nose to the grind. I should get there.”

At only 22 years old, Hughes experienced a breakout season in 2022-23, setting new records for the Devils. His 99 points in 78 games marked the highest single-season point total in franchise history, and his 43 goals were the most since Zach Parise’s 45-goal campaign in 2008-09. Even more impressive was that he sort of exploded onto the scene last season after facing some criticism in his first three seasons as a Devil.

Selected first overall in the 2019 NHL Draft, he amassed 108 points in 166 games over his first three NHL seasons. .65 points per game certainly isn’t terrible, but considering the expectations placed upon him as he made his way to the NHL, some were quick to label him as a potential bust. Not only did he prove everyone wrong in 2022-23, but the Devils became a team to watch. They made significant progress as a group, achieving 52 wins and 112 points, earning a playoff spot for the first time since 2017-18.

Jack Hughes New Jersey Devils NHL
Jack Hughes New Jersey Devils NHL

The combination of a good team and a player who has figured it out could be deadly. Matt Larkin of Daily Faceoff has Hughes ranked at No. 2 for potential Hart Trophy candidates. He writes:

Hughes in my No. 2 spot probably feels aggressive. But it’s a matter of ceiling. The budding superstar exploded for 99 points last season and was a chance-generating machine for the New Jersey Devils…but he’s also just 22 years old. It’s therefore unlikely we’ve seen Hughes’ peak season yet. Playing on an absolutely loaded Devils roster, Hughes could end up a top-three scorer in the league this season. If he’s the driving force behind a team with as strong a chance as any to win the Presidents’ Trophy, he’ll have some MVP ingredients.

The Pressure Is On Now to Improve on That Success

“In previous years … you’re walking into camp (thinking), ‘What’s going to happen this year? What pick are we going to get? Who are we dishing at the deadline?'” Hughes reflected, adding, “Last year was crazy because we just exploded, and no one saw it coming.” Can they take another step?

Jack Hughes’ quest for a 100-point season is set to kick off on October 12 when the Devils face the Detroit Red Wings, and fans are eagerly awaiting what promises to be an exciting season for both Hughes and the team. If he can have a huge year, there’s no reason to think the Devils won’t be a contending franchise again.

Next: Avalanche Exploring Goalie Trade Options as Francouz Recovers

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