The New Jersey Devils had one of the worst things that could happen to them this season occur two games ago, Jack Hughes got injured. He crashed into the end boards and hit hard. He also left the game and the team needed time to evaluate his injury. At the time, he was the league leader in points and led the Devils to a great start.
Hughes is the first-line center, plays on the top power play, and had five goals and 20 points in 10 games. The Devils released that their star forward is considered week-to-week with an upper-body injury and that the term used to describe the situation is fortunate as to the severity of the injury. The Devils have a strong team, but it won’t be easy for them to get through without Hughes. With that said, there will be players who will benefit. These players will get bumps in fantasy as well, but there will also be players negatively impacted. Let’s take a look at the fantasy hockey impact of Hughes’ injury.
Which Devils Players Get a Bump From the Jack Hughes Injury
The Devils have already been dealing with an injury to Nico Hischier along with the now-injured Hughes. This will put real pressure on the replacements down the middle. Those two players are Dawson Mercer and Michael McLeod.
Dawson Mercer is an Amazing Sneaky Addition
Mercer has had an incredibly tough start offensively to the season. He went the first 10 games without even recording a point until the first game Hughes missed and Mercer was placed on the top line at center. He goes and scores a goal and finally breaks through. Don’t get me wrong, he was playing well and his coach even said so. This may just be the turning point in his season offensively, especially playing with talented players. Mercer should continue to get top-line minutes for a while as well as stay on the top power-play unit producing there.
While Mercer was definitely drafted in most leagues, I guarantee he was dropped. He’s going to be picked up at a fast rate very soon when fantasy owners start catching on to where he’s playing in the lineup. He was never snake-bitten like that before in his NHL career and we know he can score after he put up 27 goals and 56 points last season. Get him as soon as you can in place of Hughes and I am confident you won’t drop him when Hughes returns from injury.
McLeod doesn’t really have a ton of points to make up for moving into the top six as Hischier only got two goals and no assists in seven games before his injury. Regardless, McLeod will continue to play a strong all-around game and likely contribute a bit offensively. He has three goals and an assist in 11 games but is also playing with the 18-point scorer Jesper Bratt at five-on-five. McLeod is going to get second-unit power-play time on a strong unit, so there’s some value there. Consider him in deep leagues or if you need someone to stream for a couple of games.
Who is Negatively Impacted on the Devils
A lot of players are negatively impacted by Hughes’ injury. This will have an effect in real life and fantasy. The biggest losses will surely come to Tyler Toffoli and Timo Meier. Not only are they linemates of Hughes, but they are also on the same top power-play unit that started very hot. Both are goal-scorers and were being set up by Hughes. Mercer is more of a shooter than a passer himself, so someone might have to come out of their comfort zone to help make the line effective.
Not only will Toffoli and Meier likely drop in production, but Bratt may as well. 13 of his 18 points have come on the power play this season. With a top unit that will have a tougher time, expect everyone to either pick up the slack or struggle to score. Don’t expect the scoring to be as prominent for the next while. The Devils and the players are hoping for a speedy recovery from Hughes. If you haven’t already grabbed Mercer, make sure to do so. He has the best opportunity to benefit greatly from this injury and continue rolling afterward.