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New Jersey Devils star Jack Hughes got what could be the best compliment a hockey player could ever receive, and it came from the Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs have not been kind to Hughes’ Devils through two games, as they currently trail the New Rangers 2-0. It’s been a lopsided opening-round series, with the Rangers outscoring the Devils 10-2, after winning both games in New Jersey by a score of 5-1.
This all makes anyone who picked the Devils in their bracket *sheepishly raises hand* look like a complete and utter doofus.
However, for Hughes, something that could take the sting out of this is what Gretzky had to say about him.
The Great One said that while he expects Connor McDavid to run away with the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP, he’d be shocked if Hughes didn’t receive every second-place vote.
“He’s been that good and so electric and so dynamic,” Gretzky said in a video posted by Bleacher Report.
That’s rather nice of him to say, but then came the mother of all compliments.
“He reminds me of me in the sense that, well, first of all, he’s faster than I was, and he sees the ice incredibly well. He went to a whole different level as a hockey player. And part of that too is experience, and y’know, being in his (fourth) year in the NHL. He’s much more knowledgeable now as a player.”
Gretzky Has Become One Of Jack Hughes’ Biggest Hupe-Men
Gretzky saying you remind him of himself is like having Tom Brady or Michael Jordan (no, not LeBron) say you remind them of themselves. That’s ultra-high praise.
This wasn’t the first time Gretzky praised Hughes. He reportedly did so during the All-Star break, saying Hughes was the only one who can catch Connor McDavid.
Gretzky also commented on how Hughes is the Devils‘ centerpiece these days.
“It looks like the organization and the coaching staff have kind of built their team around him. He is the guy, and he’s relished in that role and he’s handled it extremely well.”
The Devils are building around Hughes for good reason. This season, he set a team record for most points in a season this year with 99. That broke the team record of 96 points set by Patrik Elias during the 2000-01 season (that regular season concluded a couple of weeks before Hughes was born).
Hughes deserves the praise, and while this postseason isn’t going the best for his team, expect the Devils to build on a solid regulars season, and be contenders in the years to come.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle