The upper-body injury keeping New Jersey Devils star forward Jack Hughes out of the lineup is a right shoulder ailment, Ryan Novozinsky of NJ.com reports. Hughes, who remains tied for the NHL’s points lead with 20, remains out on a week-to-week basis after crashing into the boards in the first period of Friday’s loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Notably, this is not an aggravation of the upper-body injury Hughes sustained during the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Novozinsky adds. It’s great news for the Devils, who have relied heavily on their offense and power play to stay afloat this season. The 2019 first-overall pick is averaging over 20 minutes per game and has 15 assists in ten games, including nine power-play assists.
New Jersey is currently without Hughes and captain Nico Hischier due to separate upper-body injuries, meaning the team is down both of its top two centers. Dawson Mercer shifted to the middle, and Michael McLeod jumped up to center the second line in yesterday’s 4-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Other notes from the Metropolitan Division today:
- Injured Philadelphia Flyers cornerstones Sean Couturier and Carter Hart traveled with the team on their upcoming three-game California road swing, Charlie O’Connor of PHLY Sports reports. While not a guarantee, the door is open for the team’s first-line center and starting goaltender to return to the lineup sometime this week. The team listed both players as day-to-day on Friday with a lower-body and mid-body injury, respectively. Both players have missed the team’s last two games, a 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday and a 5-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
- Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce has returned to practice for the first time since sustaining a lower-body injury nearly three weeks ago, Walt Ruff of the team’s official site reports. Sporting a no-contact sweater, Pesce is almost two weeks into his recovery from surgery undergone on October 24. His return to the lineup is not imminent, but he does appear on track to return in the two-to-four-week window following the surgery as initially expected. Pesce, 28, had two points in five games this season and is a pending UFA.
- Sticking with Carolina, 24-year-old netminder Pyotr Kochetkov is expected to rejoin the team from his loan to the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch before tomorrow’s contest against Buffalo, Cory Lavalette of the North State Journal relays. Starter Frederik Andersen is not expected to be available as he is dealing with an undisclosed medical issue, and veteran Jaroslav Halák is not eligible to suit up while on a professional tryout, which he signed with the team this morning. Kochetkov, who has a 0-3-0 record and .836 SV% with the Hurricanes this season, will likely back up Antti Raanta in tomorrow’s contest.