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Hughes won't be loaned to U.S. for World Juniors by Devils

Idea of letting No. 1 pick in 2019 NHL Draft play in event 'was shut down right away'

by Mike G, Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Jack Hughes won't be loaned by the New Jersey Devils to the United States for participation in the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, scheduled to be played in the Czech Republic from Dec. 26, 2019 to Jan. 5, 2020.

"That (idea) was shut down right away," Devils coach Alain Nasreddine said Friday, responding to questions about a report that said the Devils should consider letting Hughes play in the tournament. "We have no intention of sending him there. He's on our team and he's a big part of this team, so it's not something we want to lose him for three weeks."

The 18-year-old center, chosen No. 1 in the 2019 NHL Draft, played for the United States at the 2019 WJC in Vancouver, British Columbia, when it finished second to Finland. He had four assists in four games but missed three games with an undisclosed injury.

"The World Juniors is a pretty special tournament and it was a lot of fun playing in it, but, I mean, I haven't thought about that," Hughes said. "I'm here for a reason, so I'm not planning on leaving."

Hughes has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) and ranks first among NHL rookies with 22 takeaways, second with three power-play goals, and third with 106 face-off wins averaging 16:02 of ice time in 24 games.

He will return to the Devils lineup when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, MSG+, NBCSCH+, NHL.TV) after missing three games with a lower-body injury sustained in a 6-4 win at the Montreal Canadiens on Nov. 28.

The Devils, who fired John Hynes as coach and replaced him with Nasreddine on Tuesday, were second-to-last in the Eastern Conference entering Friday.

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