Yegor Sharangovich Devils
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Devils begin their road-trip on Tuesday against a competitive Sharks team.

Leen Amin

The New Jersey Devils begin a new week with some significant news. Center Jack Hughes will return to the lineup after missing 17 games on Tuesday night… and he signed an eight-year, $64 million extension Tuesday afternoon.

The Devils have a significant challenge in their schedule, however. They begin Week 8 on Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks, who are currently just one point out of a wild card spot in the Western Conference.

Offensively, both the Devils and Sharks are below-average teams, but the Devils are better. Both also have below-average power plays, but the Sharks’ is superior: the Devils have one of the worst power plays in the game.

Defensively, the two teams are similar. Both are above-average, but not among the best defensive teams in the league. The Devils have a slightly below-average penalty kill, but only the Pittsburgh Penguins are better than the Sharks while short-handed.

A bottom-four power play in the league against the second-best penalty kill doesn’t really bode well for New Jersey.

In terms of goaltending, both teams are about average. The good news is that at even-strength, the Devils probably have the advantage.

Devils players to watch:

C Jack Hughes

This season: 2 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 3 PTS*
* – Returning from injury after missing 17 games

LW Andreas Johnsson

This season: 19 GP, 9 G, 17 PTS

RW Jesper Bratt

This season: 19 GP, 5 G, 17 PTS

G MacKenzie Blackwood

This season: 8 GP, 4-1-2, .922 SV%, 2.72 GAA

Sharks players to watch:

RW Timo Meier

This season: 16 GP, 9 G, 20 PTS

G James Reimer

This season: 13 GP, 7-4-1, .933 SV%, 2.06 GAA
Career vs. NJD: 16 GP, 7-6-3, .911 SV%, 2.61 GAA

C Logan Couture

This season: 20 GP, 7 G, 18 PTS

RW Nick Bonino

Career vs. NJD: 19 GP, 6 G, 14 PTS

RHD Brent Burns

Career vs. NJD: 19 GP, 4 G, 16 PTS

Leen has written about the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and international soccer. She is currently the primary NHL writer for ESNY. Leen's work has been featured on Bleacher Report and she was formerly a contributor for FanSided's New York Mets blog, Rising Apple. She is a co-host of the Yankees-Mets Express podcast.