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BLOG: Hughes Shifts From Wing Back to Center

Jack Hughes was on a line at practice on Wednesday between Janne Kuokkanen and Mike McLeod

by Marc Ciampa / NewJerseyDevils.com

After 11 games playing on the wing, Jack Hughes found himself at practice back in a familiar position in the middle between Janne Kuokkanen and Mike McLeod. 

"It was always the plan to get Jack at some point back to center. At day one when we moved him to the wing we wanted to give him a different look and different concepts and habits," noted Devils interim head coach Alain Nasreddine. "Playing more of a direct game. Jack has a lot of skills and can create a lot in open ice but playing the wing, learning how to play on the wall and coming into the D zone, stopping and eliminate the swooping and circling. He did a good job."

In those 11 games, which started on February 18, Hughes only had one assist with 16 shots on goal but the team overall did enjoy a lot of success with a 6-3-2 record. The Devils coach said that he hopes that Hughes was able to learn a more north-south style of game playing wing which will help translate to his game as a centerman. 

"If you look, last year and the last few years for him whoever he played with they had to keep the puck all the time. Sometimes when you swoop and circle you take yourself out of the play and you're not in support of the puck."

Video: RAW | Jack Hughes

Nasreddine is hoping that Jack can develop some chemistry with Kuokkanne and McLeod. 

"Sometimes you put three young guys together and it's easier. They don't think, they just come out and play," Nasreddine added. 

Hughes said that he enjoyed his time on the wing and for him it doesn't matter where he plays. 

"It's up to Nas," he said. "If he wants to play me at wing, I'll play wing. If he wants to play me at center, I'll play center. Wherever my name is on the board, that's where I'll play."

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