Luke Hughes was drafted fourth overall by the New Jersey Devils in 2021, now two years later he could very well be a Calder Trophy favorite in his rookie season.
Hughes made his NHL debut playing in two games last season and he even managed to score a goal and register an assist during that time. Hughes also played in three of the Devils playoff games, putting up two more assists while playing an average of 19:15 minutes a game.
The Devils have a lot of young defenseman in their system like Simon Nemec and Olen Zellweger, but when it comes to who could be a top pick for the Calder Trophy, Luke Hughes make a ton of sense.
New Jersey Devils: Luke Hughes could be a top pick for the Calder Trophy
Last season Hughes put up 48 points in 39 games for the University of Michigan. He also scored four goals and added an assist playing for team USA at the World Juniors. While the NHL is a completely different beast than college and the World Juniors, Hughes has been getting worked in gradually. He already has put up a few points and played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
One of the reasons Hughes should be a Calder Trophy favorite is the different circumstance revolving around his rookie season. A lot of people will say Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli or Leo Carlsson will win the award, but all three of them are stepping into bad teams right after getting drafted.
Hughes on the other hand has had a few extra seasons to develop and improve his game, plus the Devils are a premier team trying to compete for the Stanley Cup, and Hughes can play a big role in that.
Luke Hughes will potentially be stepping into a top four role this season. After Damon Severson and Ryan Graves left the team in the offseason, Hughes will have to help fill that hole.
Want your voice heard? Join the Puck Prose team!
New Jersey Devils fans are in for an exciting season in 2023-24. Their team is set to contend for the top spot in the East and they have so many young players ready to take that next step. Luke Hughes is going to put up a lot of points this season, and could potentially be quarterbacking the team’s top power play unit by the end of the year.
The Devils kick off their season with a preseason matchup on Monday Sept. 25 visiting the Montreal Canadiens.