I took a look at Nolan Patrick yesterday so it’s only fair that I look at Nico Hischier today. The New Jersey Devils realistically only have two possibilities at #1 overall, Patrick or Hischier. Both are tremendous hockey players and people on and off the ice; the Devils would be okay with either one of them. It just comes down to who they want more, who they think would fit in better with the system, and who is going to adjust to the NHL-level better. Check out Patrick’s draft profile; here is Hischier’s.
Name: Nico Hischier
Birth Date: January 4, 1999 (18 years old)
Hometown: Bern, Switzerland
Height (NHL Scouting Combine): 6′ 1.5″ (186.69 cm)
Weight (NHL Scouting Combine): 178.55 lbs (81 kg)
Ranked #2 overall among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, Hischier has seen his draft stock considerably climb over the past season. He is the only realistic challenger to Patrick for the #1 overall selection and he’ll become the highest-drafted Swiss player ever, regardless of whether he goes #1 or #2.
Hischier’s played just one year in the North American system for the Halifax Mooseheads in the QMJHL but he had one heck of a season. He had 86 points (38 goals, 48 assists) in 57 regular season games, 24 penalty minutes, and a +20 rating. He averaged an impressive 1.51 points per game but again, this reflects just one season. He had seven points (three goals, four assists) in six playoff games.
He was named to the QMJHL All-Rookie Team and was named the QMJHL Best Professional Prospect (the Mike Bossy Trophy). He had the most assists by a rookie (48), most goals by a rookie (38), and most points by a rookie (86) in the league. He also won the QMJHL Offensive Rookie of the Year award (the Michel Bergeron trophy) and Rookie of the Year.
He doesn’t have a complete scouting package on YouTube but be sure to check out some highlights:
Not bad for someone’s first season. He was able to adjust pretty quickly and it seems as if he might easily make the jump to the NHL but no one should rest their hopes on that. Hischier was able to break out on a team that wasn’t that great. The only other player on the Mooseheads who is draft eligible and ranked above #150 is defenseman Jocktan Chainey, ranked #126 by NHL Central Scouting. Halifax also has #177 LW Arnaud Durandeau, #182 RW Maxime Fortier, #193 D Walter Flower, and unranked D Mathieu Charlebois. Fortier actually had one more point than Hischier during the regular season but also played 11 more games; no one else had more. The next player on Halifax with the most points had 53 (Jake Coughler).
Famous Moosehead alumni include Nikolaj Ehlers (2014), Nathan McKinnon (2013), and Jonathan Drouin (2013), all in the first round. New Jersey actually selected Petr Vrana back in 2003 and they might select another Halifax alum.
Hischier’s spent the rest of his hockey career playing for and representing Switzerland on a national and an international level. He’s played in the World Juniors tournament for the past two years, for both U18 and U20. He’s played 26 games at WJC and has scored 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists), averaging 0.82 PPG. He was named a Top 3 Player on both the U18 and U20 teams.
Hischier is a pretty special player too. He’s young and he’s learning. He also plays a two-way game as a dynamic, forceful center. He makes the perfect pass even when it seems like he can’t. He’s fast and quick on his skates. He has excellent vision on the ice and is consistently an offensive threat. He’s also pretty good defensively and can kill penalties. He’s a bit on the smaller side but if he bulks up over the summer, his size shouldn’t be an issue.
The Devils could also pick Hischier over Patrick. Nico doesn’t have the North American experience or the size that Nolan does but that might not matter. It shouldn’t make-or-break New Jersey’s decision. Hischier could play on the top line (just not right out of the gate). He’s a good hockey player and a good kid, and he’ll be an offensive juggernaut no matter where he ends up.