Morning Forecheck: Jack Hughes, Senators Steal a Game, Boston Dominates
|Photo Credit: AP|
Welcome to the morning forecheck, where I go over some of the news and notes from the day before in the NHL. Make sure you subscribe to the site at the link above to get the latest updates!
Jack Hughes Quickly Becoming Worth Price of Admission
Although the game didn't quite go as planed for the New Jersey Devils, it was a great opportunity for them to get some exposure on the national stage.
With the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins game getting pushed to later in the day to account for the weather, NBC decided to broadcast the Washington Capitals game against the Devils, in turn allowing the nation to get an unexpected look at the latter.
Sunday was the first game in the 'Nico Hischier as captain' era, and it got off to an explosive start. New Jersey jumped up on the Capitals 2-0, before the home team scored three unanswered goals.
To say that last season was a disappointment for Jack Hughes may be an understatement. The number overall pick in 2019, Hughes struggled to adjust to life as a NHLer. In 61 games last year, the Orlando, Florida native recorded just 21 points (7 G, 14), not an ideal start to the career you'd want or expect from a first overall pick.
With the Devils not a part of the restart, that means Hughes got extra time to better prepare himself for his sophomore season, and the work he put it in is really showing.
In 12 games this year, Hughes 10 points on the season (3 G, 7 A). The biggest difference with Hughes this year? On top of the added muscle has been confidence, and it shows on the ice.
That's probably a move he doesn't try last season. Hughes also showed his great hands on the goal he scored, collecting the puck from an awkward angle but still was able to get enough off it on the backhand to find the back of the net.
Hischier and Hughes are going to be a fun duo to watch in the years to come. Throw in Mackenzie Blackwood in net, and the Devils are certainly a team to watch going forward.
Senators Steal One From Montreal
I feel like Ottawa is becoming a sneaky good watch this season. They have a goal differential of minus-33 this year, so it's hard to say they've been competitive in games.
But they engineered one of the biggest comebacks in recent history against the first place Toronto Maple Leafs, and then stole a game from the reeling Montreal Canadians on Sunday.
They have a lot of things to figure out, especially in net, but you can certainly see some of the upside that you should see from a team who bottomed out as bad as they did.
Brady Tkachuk doesn't seem like he's going to be the attention getter that his brother is, but that doesn't take away what he can bring to the table. Josh Norris is starting to come around. Who would have thought that there was any chance that Ottawa would win a trade involving sending Erik Karlsson packing?
Norris has 11 points in 20 games this season, not taking any time in adjusting to the lineup, the rookie has been the number-1 center from day one this season and doesn't look like he's interested in giving that up.
Boston in their Own Class
You kind of keep waiting to see if the Bruins are going to take a step back, but they just never do. The MassMutual East division was an intriguing one going in, and while Boston was certainly a contender - at this point in the season they may be in their own class.
Right now in a seven game series I'm not sure I take anyone in the East over the Bruins. Didn't think I'd say that after they lost both Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug in the same offseason, and did all of their replacing internally as opposed to looking elsewhere.
In one of the outdoor events at Lake Tahoe, the Bruins made easy work of the Flyers, winning 7-3. They still have, if not the best, the second best line in all of hockey, and there might not be a better winger than David Pastrnak in the league right now.
Pastrnak recorded a hat trick on Sunday, giving him nine goals in as many games played. Just imagine where he would be at if he started the season on time?
What were your impression of Hughes on Sunday? What is his upside? Who has won the Karlsson trade so far, San Jose or Ottawa? Where does Boston rank around the league? Let us know what you think in the comment section below, subscribe to the site at the link above and follow me on Twitter @AJ_Murfy.