After his first disappointing NHL season, Jack Hughes was being labeled a bust by some. The 1st overall pick in 2019 had a rough rookie season only scoring 21 points in 62 games and was being pushed around by stronger and bigger players. However, this season Hughes is proving the haters wrong by having a breakout year. This season Hughes already has 24 points in 45 games while improving in all aspects of his game. Here is why Jack Hughes is having a breakout season and why he will be a star in the league.
In his rookie season, Hughes was given a limited role on a struggling Devils team. For the majority of the season, Hughes was playing on the 3rd line with Wayne Simmonds and Miles Wood, who both did poorly last season. With his limited role and below-average linemates, he wasn’t given an opportunity to shine. However, this year with Devils captain Nico Hischier being injured for a majority of the season, Hughes was given a big role with the Devils by being the #1 center. Hughes has improved greatly with his new linemates Janne Kuokkanen and Yegor Sharangovich who complement Hughes’ game very well. Once Hughes gets players that perfectly fit his style of play, in Alexander Holtz, and Dawson Mercer, he will elevate his game to a whole different level.
Last season, Hughes had many flaws to his game, most of which was a result of his small frame. Coming into the league, Hughes was a measly 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds. This was nowhere close to the league average of 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds. Hughes’ small frame made him an easy target of getting hit by bigger players. His size also made it impossible for him to go into the corner and win puck battles. This all affected his style of play as he was less aggressive and lost confidence in his game. But over the offseason, Hughes knew he had to get stronger and he did just that by adding 14 pounds of muscle. Hughes entered the next season much stronger and it had a huge effect on his game. Hughes was able to win puck battles, hit players, and became more aggressive. Hughes completely changed the style of play which has elevated his game.
Jack Hughes has phenomenal skating, excellent puck vision and passing, solid shooting and quick hands which all are key tools of an NHL superstar. As Hughes matures in the NHL and as the Devils get stronger as a team, it is almost certain that Jack Hughes will become a superstar in the league.