While it is only one game, Jack Hughes is showing a lot more maturity and patience in year three with the New Jersey Devils. And this is the pace, captain Nico Hischier was on as well. Watching the Devils, it took some time for Hischier to develop as he entered the lineup right away. The same goes for Jack Hughes. Hughes could have used some time in the AHL or playing someplace else, but sticking with the group has allowed him to grow with the younger players on the team. And the great players in the league only get better with each passing year. Now it is Hughes’s time to shine for the Devils this season as there high expectations for him and the team this season.
Jack Hughes Is So Showing More Patient With The Puck
The Devils were successful in Game 1 of their season defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 as Jack Hughes potted two goals. However, what everyone is talking about is his game-winning overtime goal. But if you watched the game closely, the goals that he scored… Hughes showed great patience. Hughes is becoming the player the Devils drafted with his confidence, demeanour, attitude, and swagger. During his first year and a half, you could see that confidence was an issue as he was adjusting to a man’s game. But as Hughes has put on his man weight learning the NHL game, the skill that he possesses is coming to the forefront. Just look at his overtime goal.
Jack Hughes had a different demeanor/attitude with the puck last season. More and more confident each time I see him play. He took that swagger to a new level on this one. Taking another step this year for @NJDevils pic.twitter.com/SbOkhdKp7u
As you can see on this play, after getting the puck from Janne Kuokkanen, Hughes carries the puck the length of the ice. Now granted it is overtime, so there is more space out there, but this is something we would not have seen from Jack Hughes the last two years. Hughes enters the zone with speed and there is a possible 2-on-1 with defenceman Ryan Graves. But instead of passing the puck or shooting early, Hughes is patient with the puck. As Hughes moves across the ice, he crosses up two Blackhawks defenders, which gives him a path to the net. From there, Hughes moves the puck to his backend scoring the game-winner by Kevin Lankinen. This was great patience and vision from Hughes, which head coach Lindy Ruff stated is what you get with a gifted player.
“That’s a goal that an extremely gifted player can get you,” head coach Lindy Ruff said after the game. “You can’t draw that up. It was one heck of a play.”
Patience Will Be Key For Hughes
Great players make their own space out there. Not only did Hughes do that on the game-winning goal, but also when he gave the Devils a 2-1 lead in the second period.
Here we see Hughes come out of the corner, and maybe in the past, he would have not made a play with the puck. But this time, it was different. Hughes steals the puck, comes out of the corner and makes his own space as he stick-handled the puck into a danger area spinning around and taking a shot on the net. For Hughes and the Devils, the puck went into the net. As previously mentioned, last year and definitely in his first year, Hughes would not make that play. But now with the confidence there, he is playing like his old self. And Hughes will only get better as he matures even more.
“He gets a lot of respect for what he can do with his lateral movement and how he can create opportunities, create his own space,” Lindy Ruff told reporters. “He wants to get better every day. I think there’s still a lot to learn. He’s got tremendous talent.”
The only missing element from Hughes’s game over the last couple of seasons was finishing on his chances. As he continues to improve his game and become a more two-way player, the chances will be there. He has to be more than an offensive player because that is how he gets respect from other teams around the league. And as the league takes notice of him, Jack will have to be even more patient with the puck. Because the great ones know how to adjust on the fly when the league catches up to them.
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