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Devils center Jack Hughes is in the middle of a career-best season. (Photo by Andrew Mordzynski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Devils center Jack Hughes is in the middle of a career-best season. (Photo by Andrew Mordzynski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

New Jersey Devils forward Jack Hughes will miss Thursday’s game against the Seattle Kraken and is considered week-to-week with an unspecified upper-body injury.

Devils head coach Lindy Ruff said that Hughes ought to be on the “shorter end” of week-to-week but a concrete timeline for his return wasn’t stated.

Hughes has transformed into a down-ballot Hart Trophy candidate this season, recording 35 goals and 67 points in 50 games, while ranking second in shots and sixth in individual expected goals at 5-on-5, per Natural Stat Trick.

The 2019 first-overall pick has been the galvanizing force behind the Devils’ ascension into a genuine Stanley Cup contender. He’s been arguably the most electrifying player in the NHL and a prolonged absence would be a huge loss for the Devils.

It’s unclear when Hughes suffered the injury and it’s imperative that he’s ready for the playoffs, but this is a tough blow for the Devils to weather in the interim. Hughes’ world-class speed, creativity and willingness to cut into close spaces in the offensive zone have made him the catalyst of a Devils team that is overwhelming opponents with blistering pace, and a concerted two-man forecheck.

Alexander Holtz will take Hughes’ place in the lineup.

New Jersey currently sits second in the Metropolitan Division and third overall in the Eastern Conference with 70 points through 50 games. Following Thursday’s game against the Kraken, the Devils embark on a four-game road trip.

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