Nice Jewish presence on the ice this NHL season

New Jersey Devils player Jack Hughes. Photo: Mike Stobe/NHL, via Getty Images
New Jersey Devils player Jack Hughes. Photo: Mike Stobe/NHL, via Getty Images and JTA

According to JTA, after Major League Baseball, the professional sports league in North America with the next highest number of Jewish athletes at the moment is the National Hockey League (NHL).

With the new season starting this week, here are some top Jewish players to watch.

Jack Hughes (New Jersey Devils, centre)

Multiple injuries kept the number one pick of the 2019 NHL Draft off the ice for 19 games last season. Yet, there is hope Jack Hughes will now reach his superstar potential. In just 49 games played last season, he still managed an impressive 26 goals and 56 points (goals plus assists).

Quinn Hughes (Vancouver Canucks, defenceman)

Last season, the oldest Hughes brother, Quinn, set a Canucks franchise record for defencemen with a whopping 68 points. Though only eight of those points were goals, Quinn has solidified himself as a top playmaker. His goal this season is to take even more scoring chances.

Zach Hyman (Edmonton Oilers, forward)

After playing with the Toronto Maple Leafs for six years, forward Zach Hyman signed with the Edmonton Oilers last summer, and never looked back. The left winger had a stellar 2021-2022 season, recording a career-high 27 goals and 54 points in 76 games, including 11 goals in 16 play-off games.

Adam Fox (New York Rangers, defenceman)

While Adam Fox wasn’t the best defenceman in the NHL last season, the 2021 Norris Trophy winner was still in great form. He scored 11 goals, and racked up 74 points in his 78 games, including five goals in the play-offs. In the preseason, Fox wore an ‘A’ on his jersey (signifying alternate captain), sparking speculation he is in the leadership mix this season.

Jason Zucker (Pittsburgh Penguins, forward)

After an off season of rest and rehab following an injury-plagued 2021-22 NHL season, it looks like Jason Zucker is back to his best. On September 25, he helped the Pittsburgh Penguins open their preseason by scoring the winning goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and looked fit and fast.

Jakob Chychrun. Photo: Andrew Lahodynskyj/NHL via Getty Images and JTA

Jakob Chychrun (Arizona Coyotes, defenceman)

A good way to measure a player’s talent and value is by who lines up to trade for him when he wants to move teams. And since Jakob Chychrun made clear last month he wants to be traded from the Coyotes to a play-off contender, several teams have shown interest in the 24-year-old former first-round draft pick, whose stock is still on the rise.

Mark Friedman (Pittsburgh Penguins, defenceman)

This could be 26-year-old Mark Friedman’s breakout season. Friedman only played 16 games in his first three NHL seasons. But last season, he played 26, and got some playing time in the play-offs too.

Luke Kunin (San Jose Sharks, centre)

Luke Kunin was traded from the Nashville Predators to the San Jose Sharks in July. He played in all 82 games for Nashville last year, scoring 13 goals, and if he can gel with his new teammates, anything’s possible. JTA

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