The New Jersey Devils suffered a major blow to their lineup Tuesday.
The team announced that center Jack Hughes has been diagnosed with a low-grade MCL sprain in his left knee that will rule him out for the remainder of the season. Hughes suffered the injury in Sunday's game against the New York Islanders.
Hughes has emerged as a star in his third NHL season. He leads the Devils with 26 goals and ranks second on the team with 56 points despite playing in just 49 games. The 20-year-old earned his first selection to the All-Star Game this year.
After being selected with the No. 1 overall pick in 2019, Hughes got off to a slow start. He recorded 21 points in 61 games during his rookie year and followed that up with 31 points in 56 games last year.
But the Devils showed they believed in Hughes' potential when they signed him to an eight-year, $64 million contract extension in November.
"We all know what Jack means to the team on and off the ice—he's an unbelievable player and a fantastic person,'' Devils part-owner David Blitzer said at the time of the extension. "His future is incredibly bright and he will be a pillar for our franchise for years to come."
The team's commitment paid off with Hughes' stellar season. However, his production unfortunately hasn't resulted in victories for New Jersey.
At 24-39-6, the Devils are in last place in the Metropolitan Division and have already been eliminated from playoff contention. It will be the fourth consecutive season and ninth time in the past 10 years that New Jersey has failed to qualify for the postseason.