Devils' Disappointing Season Culminates in Shutting Down Jack Hughes

With the Devils eliminated from playoff contention they've officially shut down Jack Hughes so he can undergo surgery
Mar 24, 2024; Elmont, New York, USA; New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86) attempts a shot
Mar 24, 2024; Elmont, New York, USA; New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86) attempts a shot / Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

As the New Jersey Devils were officially eliminated from playoff contention they've decided to do the safe thing and shut down Jack Hughes, who will undergo shoulder surgery on Wednesday.

This ends a disappointing season for both the Devils and Hughes, who finishes with 27 goals and 47 assists in 62 games played. The Devils entered the year with Stanley Cup aspirations after their playoff success last year. The team never found their form from 2023 with poor goaltending and an inexperienced core of defenders.

This is the right move for both Hughes and Devils, as he's expected to make a full recovery before training camp begins this summer. Rather than risking further damage in meaningless games, the team pulled the plug to focus on 2024-25.

The Devils will need a massive off-season to get the team back into the Stanley Cup conversation. The team tried to acquire goaltending help all season, such as with the deal that was in place for Jacob Markstrom before an issue arose. The conversations around Markstrom should resume this summer as the veteran goaltender wasn't open to a mid-season deal.

Injuries ultimately played a massive role in the Devils' struggles and were just too much to overcome. Hughes missed time with an upper-body injury, which caused him to miss eleven games and the All-Star Game, before a second injury kept him out for another five. Dougie Hamilton has missed a good portion of the season with a pectoral injury, which took a crucial veteran out of the young defensive core. Cal Foote, Nathan Bastian, Michael McLeod, and Curtis Lazar have all ended up on injured reserve at points as well.

Devils Need Big Moves to Get Back in Metro Race

The Devils are up against two monsters in the Rangers and Hurricanes, who are built for the long run in their division. The Penguins and Islanders will continue to be in the race every year while the Flyers are building towards the future. The Devils need to find their footing in this division and fast with a star of Hughes caliber. The Devils will need to add a goalie, veteran defensemen, and bottom-six depth if they plan on making a run for the division.

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