Hughes, Sharangovich and Kuokkanen deliver
Now that the New Jersey Devils 2020-21 season is officially over, it’s time to talk about all of the squad members and their contributions both individually, on their respective lines and within the squad. in general. The young lineage of Jack Hughes, Yegor Sharangovich and Janne Kuokkanen have lined up well and have been a big help in securing points for the Devils this season once they were side by side on the ice. Here, we’ll talk about each member of that line and their “rating” for this season, including their strengths and weaknesses that have come out throughout.
Jack Hughes: B +
After a disappointing rookie season, the first overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft definitely improved his game this year, which was much needed. From what has been said about the 20-year-old center putting on extra muscle in the offseason, we’ve certainly seen this in the first half and even beyond in the shortened 2020 schedule- 2021 with his offensive contributions.
Hughes has 11 goals and 20 assists this year, a 10-point improvement from last year in five games less. His overall game looked a lot more proficient – he looks faster, stronger, and more dedicated. This helped to consider him to be on the smaller side of the league players, so doing that extra work was essential.
Hughes thrived, centering young Devils Sharangovich and Kuokkanen after head coach Lindy Ruff put them in the front row around the middle of the season. The youth of this suit could have been decisive without any veteran experience to guide them, but it worked well. This line racked up some decent points while they were together, and Hughes had a few nights with several assists coming from it.
It should be noted that Hughes is much more explosive on the ice, and that earns him more points. Although his offensive play ranked overall, his ability to win faceoffs has struggled this season. He had the lowest faceoff percentage among Devils centers, at around 35.35% on the season.
Hughes had a warm start to the season before the COVID-19 outbreak a few weeks later. In his first three games he’s scored two goals and notched four assists, but after coming back from the break it looks like it took a little while. so that these points start to come back. The good thing is he’s been pretty consistent throughout, and playing with Sharangovich and Kuokkanen has also helped. It makes sense that it has been difficult to bounce back after being on COVID-19, and it shows, so an improvement after his return would have made his game even better this season.
It is good to hope that Hughes’ game will continue on this uptrend in the next season. Overall, there has been a bit of improvement on his part, and it looks like he’s starting to settle more into his role with New Jersey.
Janne Kuokkanen: A-
It was not known if Kuokkanen would be part of this squad at the start of the season, as it could have gone both ways. The 23-year-old Finnish winger has probably been one of the Devils best surprises this season. In his first season in the NHL, Kuokkanen was able to become a good addition to the Devils’ offense while registering eight goals and 17 assists in the process.
The best part of Kuokkanen’s success this season is that there was really no expectation for him for this season. He played a few games with the Carolina Hurricanes and had yet to score a point in the NHL when he started out in New Jersey. For him, keeping up with the pace and being in the front row alongside Hughes and Sharangovich for most of the season was impressive given that no one really knew what was to come from him.
Coherent is the word I think of when I think of Kuokkanen. The Devils could count on him to do his best in every shift, complementing Hughes and Sharangovich or his game individually. However, his game particularly flourished on this line, especially thanks to the assists he brought to the goals of both linemen.
Kuokkanen has had four multi-point nights this season, one of which was a goal and two assists against the Buffalo Sabers on April 8. He scored in four straight games from March 9-14, three against the New York Islanders in back-to-back games. well, and had five assists in three straight games from March 21 to 25.
If he stays with the Devils, next year will be important as we can determine his full potential. Another season like this could mean a bright future for this emerging forward, so it is better to hope that this good game will continue. He is definitely a good choice for New Jersey.
Yegor Sharangovich: B +
This 22-year-old Belarusian was sure to make its mark in his first season in the NHL. Sharangovich, who already had professional KHL hockey experience in Russia, gave him the double over some of the other rookies and was just an advantage for the team.
He’s scored 16 goals and 14 this season, leading the Devils rookies in points and fourth among the league rookies with 30. What’s more, he’s also placed 3rd overall for New Jersey, only behind Hughes (31 points) and Pavel Zacha (35 points). Like his linemen, Sharangovich is also quick, and you’ll always find him pushing the puck and trying to get chances every shift, which is why he’s managed to rack up so many points.
Sharangovich is part of the offensive force the Devils need this season. As well as leading the newcomers, he also leads the team with three game-winning goals, another impressive stat to add to his rookie schedule. While Hughes led the team with 142 shots, Sharangovich was there with him in the top three with 114; just behind Miles Wood, who had 127.
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He’s definitely someone the Devils will want to keep after his performance this season. The versatility of his way of playing this year has allowed him to work well with the whole squad, be it his teammates, other forwards or the defender with whom he has communicated well. His work ethic was strong, and Sharangovich truly has benefited this team in an offensive way.
Looking at the line as a whole
As all of those Devils have done well this season, Kuokkanen received the highest rating of the three because his strong game exceeded what everyone was really expecting. Hughes was expected to play better and hope his first season was just settling into the NHL, and it makes sense that Sharangovich was able to score points after his earlier experience. All three complemented each other well and improved each other’s games beyond what we expected. This line has worked well and will hopefully continue the same trend if the Devils decide to replenish them next season.
Sam is currently the editor and former sports editor of Montclarion, the multimedia newspaper managed by students at Montclair State University. She will graduate in sports media and journalism from there in the spring of 2021. A hockey fan since she was a youngster, she has covered the Montclair State men’s team as well as the Metropolitan Riveters and New Jersey Devils for The Hockey. Writers.