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Ruff talks Devils optimism in Q&A with

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Newark, NJ — Lindy Ruff surprised by the impact Jack Hughes He will be entering his third NHL season in 2021-22 and is looking forward to even greater success for the New Jersey Devils Center this season.

The Devils open training camp Wednesday at the Prudential Center.

“Looking at what Jack did, I think it surprised him that he was probably at that level in terms of goalscoring last year,” said the Devils coach. So I imagined him to be more dynamic, better at playmaking, maybe a second-scorer, but I think he’s proven he can be both.”

“He can score and create a lot of open space for the players he plays with.”

Hughes missed 17 games with a dislocated shoulder and 13 games with a left knee injury, but still scored 56 points (26 points and 30 assists) in 49 games, showing his offensive power. The 21-year-old leads the Devils in points per game (1.14), goals on power play (6) and shooting percentage (15.8%, played minimum 10 games) and averages ice time (19:34). ).

He will begin this season on an eight-year, $64 million ($8 million average annual) contract signed on November 30, 2021.

Ruff also likes the acquisitions the Devils got this offseason. Ondrej Palatsigned a five-year, $30 million contract ($6 million AAV) on July 14 to become defenseman Brendan Smithsigned a two-year, $2.2 million contract ($1.1 million AAV) on July 13. New Jersey also got a goalie. Vitek Vanessek Traded to Washington Capitals on July 8 Eric Howrah Traded to Boston Bruins on July 13, defense John Marino Traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins on July 16th.

Raf spoke, among other things, of his optimism, Palato and goalkeeper Mackenzie Blackwoodand Defenseman Simon Nemecthe No. 2 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, in a Q&A with

New Jersey has failed to make it to the Stanley Cup playoffs in the last four seasons and nine times in the last 10 seasons. How optimistic are you about heading into his third season as Devils coach?

“I’m very optimistic. Looking at Ondrej Palat head-on, I think we’ve added a few defensemen and brought in a goalkeeper. If our goaltending remains healthy, I think there are times when you can play anyone.We can win.There are a lot of the best teams in the league.”

What does Palat bring to your line-up?

“He’s a winner. Winning the Stanley Cup in 2020, 2021, he’s proven he’s the guy out there for the Lightning when the stakes are at stake. He knows how. ”Playing the game the right way.

VIDEO: Ondrej Parat Signs 5-Year, $30 Million Deal With NJD

Are you confident Blackwood can get back to where he was when he went 22-14-8 in his 2019-20 rookie season averaging 2.77 goals and a .915 save percentage?

“I’m sure [Blackwood] You can find his game again. It has been a very tough year for him (2021-22). He’s been injured all year, but he’s feeling great. His training this summer has gone very well and he is looking forward to a good year ahead. He’s young enough (25) that I think he’ll bounce back easily.”

Andrew Brunett, who was hired as an associate coach on July 15, finished second in the Jack Adams Award voting last season as NHL Coach of the Year with the Florida Panthers. What does it bring to your staff?

“I think he brought a lot from a team that played very similar to us. We played some high-scoring games with them. He really knows the basics of the game. He I think it’s great with our young players. He’s got a great pedigree with the Minnesota Wild (as assistant coach and assistant general manager) and he’s taking over Joel Kenneville as an assistant coach in Florida, eventually taking over the Panthers. (October 29, 2021) We are really excited to welcome him.”

I’m looking forward to what kind of defenseman he will be Dougie Hamilton What can he do in his second season in New Jersey?

“Perhaps in the first 40 games, I think we saw a lot of good things from Dougie before he got hurt (broken jaw). Sure, everyone, including himself, feels that he was playing a lot better than he was before he put on the mask. I’m looking forward to having Hamilton back again.

Video: STL@NJD: Hamilton Lifts the Devil in OT

Do you think the outlook holds much promise? Alexander Holtzand can he crack the lineup this season?

“I think we’re looking at a player who could be a dynamic goalscorer. He made nine appearances last year and had two assists. I don’t think the pack found him much. I’m really worried. “Let’s see what he can do when we open up main camp. I think he’s picking up the pace and playing the game faster. He’s ready for the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo (September 15-19) I think I was able to create space for myself. That’s important. I think all players should do more than that.

What are your thoughts on Nemec after seeing him in the Prospects Challenge?

“I didn’t know him at all and I loved it. He plays simple. He never makes the game difficult for himself, he picks his spot. I’ve seen dynamic play when he’s on open ice, so when you’re watching a first-grade kid on defense, it’s probably the best in terms of young defenders coming into camp. It may be as good as we’ve seen in the last decade.”