Trust me, the irony of having to celebrate the accomplishments of New Jersey Devils' players, or those who are very likely to be soon, while they are performing for teams other than the New Jersey Devils despite the playoffs still being in full swing is not lost on me. Still, as far as early offseasons go, you can't ask for much better than lucking into the opportunity to select someone who broke a record last held by the best pure scorer in NHL history while the two most dynamic young players already on your roster were making an instant impact internationally.
During an otherwise depressing time of year in which a disappointed fanbase desperately needed reassurance of a brighter future, it's a wonder that every social media savvy Devils' fan hasn't had to make an optometrist appointment after being left temporarily blinded by the amount of highlights they've had flashed in front of their face over the last week. Whether it be Jack Hughes absolutely infantilizing his peers with his effortlessly amazing play, or Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt picking up right where they left in looking more dangerous and more dangerous by the day, what should be a massive summer for the upward trajectory of the franchise has already been granted an extremely promising precursor.
There's still an entire tournament to be played by all three (assuming reports of Hughes' high level of interest accurate). However, what will more than likely serve as half of the Devils' top-six hasn't appeared to waste a damn shift in continuing to realize their potential at every opportunity. Who knows? Maybe Mackenzie Blackwood (who will also be getting some shine in Slovakia) IS on to something...and if not I'll gladly accept the delightful distractions during the aftermath of a doom-and-gloom season...