A collective sigh of relief could be heard in the entire state of New Jersey Friday afternoon. New Jersey Devils star, Jack Hughes, returned to the ice for practice.
The Devils star forward suffered a shoulder injury in New Jersey’s tilt against the St. Louis Blues on November 3rd. He was declared “week-to-week” after the team initially believed the injury to be worse, more like “month-to-month.”
ESPN’s Emily Kaplan reported earlier in the week that Saturday against the New York Rangers was the target return for the Devils star.
Still missing from practice is captain Nico Hischier and Timo Meier. Tomas Nosek, who took a neutral ice bump on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, didn’t practice today either.
Hughes was a full participant at Friday’s skate. It looks as though Hughes will only miss five games ahead of the Hudson River Rivalry on Saturday. However, head coach Lindy Ruff classified him as a game-time decision.
Here was Friday’s workflow:
Haula – Hughes – Lazar
Toffoli – McLeod – Bratt
Palat – Mercer – Holtz
Willman – Tierney – Bastian
Siegenthaler – Hamilton
Bahl – Marino
Smith – Hughes
On the blueline, Colin Miller rotated in with Kevin Bahl and John Marino. We’ll see what that means as far as deployment goes on Saturday. Miller presented quite a strong argument to remain in the lineup against Pittsburgh. Whereas, Bahl struggled on Thursday night.
As a full participant, Hughes and the Devils worked on their power play. Here was the Jack unit:
Toffoli, Jack, Bratt, Palat and Luke
And the Hamilton unit:
Hamilton, Haula, Holtz, Mercer, Bastian
Despite missing two weeks’ worth of games, Hughes still ranks 15th in total points and trails brother Quinn by just seven for the league lead.
On the other side of the river, Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin — also banged up — skated with New York. Peter Laviolette wouldn’t disclose the Blueshirts’ goaltenders status ahead of tomorrow night’s rivalry matchup. It remains to be seen if we’ll get the rivals’ biggest stars in action against each other for the first time since the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.