The New Jersey Devils are hoping to put together one of the better seasons in recent memory. That’s not necessarily hard. This is a team that’s made the playoffs once in the past ten seasons. Last year, they were “good” enough to get the second-overall pick in the NHL Draft one year after they chose fourth overall. In a word, it’s been a bad stretch.
Now, the Devils are looking to finally make the jump out of the rebuilding phase. It’s been a long time coming, and we’ll believe it when we see it, but the hope is the time is now. With that, the Devils need some players to make a jump. That means we should expect to see some career highs.
Let’s set some ground rules. Players need at least 100 career games to make the cut. That means no cheating answers like Alexander Holtz or even Dawson Mercer. We are looking at players where it’s at least somewhat surprising they would reach career highs. Let’s still start with an obvious one.
Previous career high: 56 points
Jack Hughes will break this by February if he stays healthy. That’s a big if, but Hughes has come into training camp looking as good as ever. He’s driving the Devils top line, and he should have some good linemates with him. He spent the first two preseason games with Ondrej Palat and Alexander Holtz. He played the third game with Yegor Sharangovich and Jesper Bratt.
No matter who Hughes ends up playing with (and we guess it largely has to do with the status of Nico Hischier), he is going to destroy his career high in points. He has a reasonable ability to double his previous career high.