Jack Hughes is the Devils’ best for the second-straight week.
Week 12 didn’t go as well for the New Jersey Devils as Week 11 did, when the team put an end to their losing streak and ended up going 3-0.
The Devils won just one game this week, lost star defenseman Dougie Hamilton to a broken jaw, and began dealing with a COVID outbreak.
A total of 24 players were used this week and several had to play multiple positions. Even so, they put up a great fight against the dangerous Boston Bruins and then again on Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, when they were severely undermanned.
Several players stood out but, of course, Jack Hughes was the best of them all.
(Check out last week’s player of the week and honorable mentions here.)
Player of the Week: C Jack Hughes
@ BOS: 1 A
vs. CBJ: 1 G, 2 A
Average Game Score: 1.12
Average defensive impact: -0.39
Hughes is the Devils’ player of the week for the second-consecutive week.
His Week 12 was nowhere as great as his Week 11 in which he averaged a Game Score of 2.82, defensive impact of 0.25, and notched eight points in three games, but he was still very impactful and was the team’s best player.
Hughes wasn’t strong in his own zone in any game this week and scored just one goal- an empty-netter- but showed off his skills as a tremendous playmaker.
Hughes was especially excellent in the team’s first game against the Blue Jackets, when he was the Devils’ best player.
Unfortunately, Hughes didn’t put up any points in Saturday’s game against Columbus, ending his point-streak at five-straight games.
Generally speaking, Hughes is a dangerous goal-scorer as well as a fantastic defensive forward, but weeks like this are testament to the fact that he’s a true star.
When he isn’t really scoring goals and is slumping defensively, he finds ways to have an impact on the game and still be one of the best players on the team, as we saw this week. Hughes continues to show how special he is, week in and week out.
Honorable Mention #1: LW Tomáš Tatar
@ BOS: 1 G
vs. CBJ: 1 G, 1 A
Average Game Score: 0.97
Average defensive impact: -0.13
Welcome back to the team and to this list, Tatar. Tatar made his return to the lineup for the first time since Dec. 19th against the Bruins and immediately made his mark.
He scored a game-tying goal agains the Bruins and followed that up with his best game of the week against the Blue Jackets, in which he scored a beautiful goal and notched an assist.
Welcome back, Tatar pic.twitter.com/gULYMjLEoz
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) January 5, 2022
The Tuna is too elusive. pic.twitter.com/UrmgHOZStf
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) January 7, 2022
Tatar wasn’t great defensively this week, either, but was the team’s best defensive player against the Bruins. He was also the team’s best overall player in that game.
It’s important that the Devils now have Tatar back in their top-six, especially since so many players are being lost to COVID protocol. Tatar is crucial to the team’s success and it’s good to see him do so well immediately upon making his return.
Honorable Mention #2: LHD Ryan Graves
vs. CBJ: 1 A
@ CBJ: 1 A
Average Game Score: 0.80
Average defensive impact: -0.39
Graves makes his return to this list in Week 12, as well. When discussing Hamilton’s jaw injury, we noted that Graves would have to step up. He’s been the team’s best overall blueliner this whole season and needs to be even better in Hamilton’s absence.
So far so good. Graves left much to be desired defensively this week, but had some strong showings, in general, which allowed him to be the team’s best defenseman and one of the best players of the week.
He was especially excellent in Saturday’s loss to the Blue Jackets. He recorded an assist, had his best defensive game of the week, and was the team’s best player.
We’re used to seeing Graves do better in his own zone, but this week was somewhat of an anomaly for him and the fact that he was strong in other aspects made his defensive play look less detrimental.
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