Jack Hughes

New Jersey Devils rookie Jack Hughes is the only skater that can spoil Wayne Simmonds’ return to Philadelphia on Wednesday night. 

You can bet that New Jersey Devils forward Wayne Simmonds will have mixed emotions when he faces off with his former team in the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night (7:30 P.M. ET; NBCSN). The game will take place at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philly.

Simmonds, 31, spent parts of eight seasons with the city of Brotherly Love, prior to his trade at the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline to the Nashville Predators. While he captured Flyers fan’s hearts and should receive a warm ovation from the entire building, there’s another fresh-faced Devil that could spoil his homecoming party.

That skater? None other than the youngster, Jack Hughes.

The 18-year-old rookie is still searching for his first NHL point, and ironically enough, the Devils centered him between Simmonds and Blake Coleman for Wednesday’s contest.


The timing couldn’t have been better for Hughes, who needed an adjustment with his line pairings. Simmonds’ energy and “big body” should not only create more time and space for No. 86. However, his comfort zone of playing in front of the rowdy Philadelphia crowd could lead to Hughes inking his name onto the game’s scoresheet.

Expect Simmonds to record at least one point in his return, which makes for a great storyline, but if Hughes was to collect a couple of assists or find the back of the net – then the 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick spoils the party and could swing the momentum in the right direction for Jersey’s team.

In two games played, Hughes enters the contest with a plus/minus rating of -3 and has recorded three shots. He’s portrayed flairs of what he’ll eventually bring to the table offensively for the Devils with his quick head fakes and movements. However, fans are eagerly waiting for that first goal celebration, which will be the big conversation around the league for a solid 24 hours afterward.

Keep in mind, the Devils other former No. 1 overall pick in Nico Hischier (2017), didn’t record his first NHL goal until his seventh career game. It was a multi-goal effort against the Ottawa Senators back on Oct. 19, 2017.

Does a Hughes goal on Wednesday night spoil Simmonds’ return? Yes, and Devils fans most likely won’t have any problem with that.

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Kyle McKenna is a freelancer who covers the NHL for Elite Sports New York, Hooked On Hockey Magazine & Fansided. Follow him on Twitter @KMcKenna_tLT5 and use the hashtag #McKennasDigest to have your NHL questions featured in an article or answered over his weekly NHL podcast.