Luke Hughes Named Finalist for Hobey Baker Award

Devils 2021 first round draft pick Luke Hughes has been named a top ten finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.

The Hobey Baker Award is given annually to the best college hockey player in the nation. Hughes is a freshman defenseman at the University of Michigan.

As noted by Leen Amin of, “Hughes is the only defenseman among the ten finalists. And the only freshman among the finalists as well.”

The only other Michigan Wolverine in among the finalists this year is Matty Beniers, a 2021 Seattle Kraken draft pick.

Hughes was earlier named co-winner of the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award along with Jakub Dobes – a goaltender from Ohio State. Amada Stein noted in an article on NewJerseyDevils,com that Hughes and Dobes together “are the first non-forwards to win the league’s rookie of the year award.”

In addition, Hughes was named a member of the Second-Team All-Big Ten Team and the Big Ten All-Freshman Team, both according to Stein.

Stein also said in her profile on Hughes that he led the NCAA in scoring among defensemen this season with 36 points (17 goals and 19 assists) over 37 games – averaging nearly a point per game. Those 17 goals, Stein said, is “a new Michigan record for a freshman defenseman” eclipsing Dean Turner’s 13 scoring in 1975-76.

His 36 points total are also a record for a Wolverine defenseman. That record was previously held by Jack Johnson, who notched 32 in his freshman year. Luke’s brother Quinn had 29 in his first season at Michigan.

The Wolverines won the Big Ten men’s hockey tournament yesterday with a 4-3 win over the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The 2022 Big Ten champs will now get ready for the NCAA Tournament with the NCAA Ice Hockey Selection Show airing tonight on ESPNU.

Hughes was named to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team along with teammates, forwards Beniers, Brendan Brisson and Mackie Samoskevich, defenseman Jackson LaCombe and goalie Erik Portillo (who was also named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player).

The NCAA Tournament regionals will begin Thursday, March 24. The 2022 Men’s Frozen Four will start on Thursday, April 7 and conclude on Saturday, April 9 from the TD Garden in Boston.

2021 Prospects Challenge: Devils Inch by Bruins, 4-3

The Devils did not have their best game in their first contest of the 2021 Prospects Challenge. They got into some penalty trouble in their loss to the Buffalo Sabres and were not as decisive as they could have been in the 3-0 defeat.

But game two was another game and another chance to show what they could do.

They came to play in their 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins, cleaning up their game and shooting when the situation called for, passing when the situation called for that.

Akira Schmid got the start between the pipes for the Devils, with Nico Daws backing him up. Schmid made 27 saves on 30 Boston shots against for a .900 save percentage.

Down the rink from him was an old friend for the Devils. Jeremy Brodeur, son of Devils’ GOAT Martin and former member of the Binghamton Devils, went for the B’s. He was even still wearing his black-and-red equipment as pointed out by broadcaster Matt Loughlin. Brodeur made 28 saves on 32 shots against for an .875 percentage.

Boston was coming off of a 5-2 win over the Sabres yesterday and continued their hot streak when they got on the board first.

It came on the power play, as all of their goals were scored today, when Joe Masonius took a holding call about five minutes in.

At 11:58 of the first, Jakub Lauko took a shot from the far half wall. Jesper Froden, a 26-year-old out of Sweden, cut through the slot and tipped the shot from Lauko past Schmid to make it 1-0 Bruins.

A little bit after the Boston goal, with 9:10 gone by in the first, Masonius was called for an elbow against Ian McKinnon. He would answer the bell for that against McKinnon. They squared off, but Masonius was tripped up by an errant stick and there was no scrap. The teams did play four-on-four, though, due to Hudson taking a tripping penalty as well.

Before the first frame was up, New Jersey would tie up the game when Dawson Mercer scored at the 2:21 mark. It developed when Nolan Foote jarred a puck loose behind the Boston net and Alexander Holtz picked up the puck. He then quickly centered it to Mercer in the slot, who scored. It was the first goal of the tournament for the Devils and knotted the game at one apiece going into the second period.

The Devils would take the lead less than five minutes into the new frame when Holtz scored on the power play. Mercer got the puck to Nikita Okhotyuk, who whipped it to Holtz at the far half wall. Holtz, who is known for his shot, snapped one on net and beat Brodeur, exploding the water bottle on the net apart in the process. That gave the Devils their first lead of the tournament at 2-1.

Boston tied things six or so minutes after that when Froden scored again on the power play. Lauko and Froden played give-and-go along the right wall, with Froden giving it to Lauko and then heading for the net. He got it back scored from the slot. Fabian Lysell had the secondary assist on the goal that tied the game at two.

Less than a minute after Froden’s second goal, Foote made it 3-2 Devils when they recovered a turnover and headed for the Bruins’ zone. Mercer fed Foote, who was camped out at the near half wall. Foote let loose with a one-time bomb that blew past Brodeur to put the Devils up by one..

New Jersey would grab one more before the second was up to double up their lead.

Patrick Grasso made it 4-2 when the Devils crashed the net after Brodeur made the initial save on Tyler Irvine. The rebound came right out to Grasso, who buried it to give the Devils the two-goal lead with just 37 second to play in the second period.

The third period would see Boston grab another power play goal when Lauko, with 4:47 to play in regulation, took a pass from Lysell and snapped it by Schmid. Jack Ahcan had the secondary assist.

Brodeur was pulled for the extra skater with about two minutes to go in the game, but nothing came of it and our final was 4-3 Devils.

There was some pushing, shoving and grappling following the final whistle, but everyone cleared off of the ice in time and the tournament was over.

Mercer led the Devils in scoring with three points (a goal and two assists), while Spring Lake native Masonius led in penalty minutes with nine.

Next up, the Devils will return home via bus and, this week, training camp – the big camp – will begin!

We will see you Wednesday, the 29th as the Devils open the preseason against the Washington Capitals down in DC.