Jack Hughes: 'I believe I will be' a 100-point player for Devils
After falling just one point off the mark last year, New Jersey Devils star Jack Hughes thinks he can become the first player in franchise history to have a 100-point season.
"I'm a competitive person, so definitely a little like, 'Damn,' you know?" Hughes said of his 99-point effort during a recent appearance on the "32 Thoughts" podcast. "I wanted that because I'm competitive.
"You're so close, and you dream of being a star and you want to be a 100-point guy. ... I believe I will be. I just gotta stay on the path I'm on and keep my nose to the grind. I should get there."
Though he's only 22 years old, Hughes enjoyed a long-awaited breakout season in 2022-23. His 99 points in 78 games were the most in a single campaign in Devils history, and his 43 tallies were the most since Zach Parise's 45-goal season in 2008-09.
Hughes amassed just 108 points in 166 games through his first three NHL seasons after being drafted first overall in 2019. He acknowledged back in May that he was happy to silence critics who'd labeled him as "the biggest bust ever."
The Devils also took a step forward last season, rattling off 52 wins and 112 points to make the playoffs for the first time since 2017-18. Expectations will be higher in New Jersey in 2023-24, which Hughes admitted is a nice change of pace for his team.
"In previous years ... you're walking into camp (thinking), 'What's going to happen this year? What pick are we going to get? Who are we dishing at the deadline?'" Hughes said with a laugh.
"Even last year, we were like, 'Alright, it's time to take a step. We're no longer the young team that can use that as an excuse every year.' ... At what point is it like, 'Maybe Hughes, Hischier, (Jesper Bratt) - maybe they aren't the guys if they can't win any hockey games, it doesn't matter how young they are.' Last year was crazy because we just exploded, and no one saw it coming."
Hughes' renewed pursuit of the century mark will begin Oct. 12 versus the Detroit Red Wings.