Hischier vs. Patrick: Crack Comparison

This post is exactly what the title implies: a crack comparison between the two potential #1 overall picks in the 2017 NHL Entry-Level Draft. So there’s no point totals, no penalty minutes, no advanced (or basic) hockey or analytical stats. You’ve come to the wrong place if those are what you’re looking for but there are draft profiles here and here, and an actual comparison here if you are interested in those stats. (This is just for fun! It’s a break from all the serious content.)

Name: Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier. Nico’s name is more fun to say although I feel like it should be pronounced Hischyay (Hischyeh?) and not Hisch-ur but none of that matters because Nolan has two first names and that’s worse.

Social media followers (as of last night):
Nico’s Twitter (@nicohischier): 2,551 followers, 79 following, 68 tweets
Nolan’s Twitter (@nolan_patrick19): 2,873 followers, 134 following, 368 tweets
Nico’s Instagram (@nicohischier): 6,293 followers, 529 following, 34 posts
Nolan’s Instagram (@npatrick19): 13.2k followers, 234 following, 9 posts

Who accepted my Instagram follow request? Nolan did, Nico didn’t. Nolan accepted my request but later switched to a public profile but Nico never accepted (and is still on private) so Nolan has the edge here.

Social media content: Nolan is more active on both forms of social media but I can’t make an Instagram comparison (because I have no idea what Nico’s posts are and he’s private for a reason). Nolan’s Twitter header has already been changed to the picture of him and the other prospects (Hischier, Casey Mittelstadt, and Gabriel Vilardi) meeting Paul Coffey, Wayne Gretzky, and NHL Commish Gary Bettman. They recently just followed each other on both Twitter and Instagram. Also, Nico has the same handle on both platforms (smart) but Nolan doesn’t so that’s unfortunate.

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Taste in music: both Nico and Nolan have said that they listen to pretty much all types of music, except for country music so I’m okay with both of them. Nolan actually said, and I quote, “I hate country music” so #same. However, Nolan also unironically went to a One Direction concert with some fellow prospects so I think he holds a very slight edge here too.

Taste in food: Nolan doesn’t like pizza or chocolate so Nico automatically wins this category by default. Also, Swiss chocolate is a good thing.

Sense of humor: Nico was asked by a Devils scout if he would throw a catfish on the ice in Nashville (Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals) if it meant that the Devils would draft him first overall. At the end of the interview, he asked where he could buy a catfish. Nico wins this category solely for that story even if he didn’t throw a catfish.

Tattoos: they both have tattoos in similar spots. Nico supposedly has his family’s zodiac signs tattooed (this is really cute) while Nolan has a bunch. He has some wheat (that a lot of people originally thought were flowers) for his Wheat Kings teammates (ha ha), a ship,  among others that I can’t remember.

Who looks better in red and black? We already know how Nico looks in Devils colors because he’s represented his native country of Switzerland his entire life. We don’t know about Nolan, on the other hand. So if they both look good in red and black, we’ll steal Philly’s second overall pick somehow and draft them both. This is a foolproof plan, trust me.

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The only Scouting Combine content I care about is that Nolan supposedly threw up his breakfast after the Wingate test and honestly, I would too.

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Oh wait, they both look good in red and black. I quit. Can we pick both?

Better Hair: this one’s close so you decide. Nolan has said he has the best hair in the WHL but 10/10 would run my hands through both.

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Eyebrows: Nico. Come on.

Devils connections: Nolan played with current Devils’ center John Quenneville during the 2015-16 season so he has the edge here.

Jersey number: Nolan wears #19, the same number Travis Zajac currently wears, while Nico wears #13, the number Michael Cammalleri currently wears. Both would have to choose new numbers if they get drafted by New Jersey unless either one of those players is no longer with the Devils (hint, hint). Nico wears #13 because of former Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk, his favorite player growing up. #13 would be fitting for a team named the “Devils”, no?

Taste in sports: Nico is Swiss so he probably likes Roger Federer and I like Roger Federer and you can’t not like Roger Federer (take a shot every time I say Roger Federer) so he’s good in my book. On the other hand, Nolan’s been seen wearing a Red Sox cap and my Yankees fan heart can’t accept that. The hat has got to go.

I don’t really know where I was going with this. But anyway, both Nico and Nolan are good kids and good hockey players. The Devils will pick one and unfortunately, the Flyers will pick the other. I will never, ever in my life root for a Philadelphia team but I will root for whoever they draft.

Hope this was a fun one! Back to my regularly-scheduled boring draft content now.

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Hischier vs. Patrick: Actual Comparison

Before we get into any actual comparisons between Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier, check out their draft profiles here (Nolan) and here (Nico)!

So now that we’ve taken a look at both Patrick and Hischier individually, it’s time we take a look at them together. It’s difficult to compare stats because Nico’s only played one season in the North American system while Nolan missed quite a few games with injuries. We can try and compare their playing styles and other concrete things.

Birthdays:
Nolan: September 19, 1998 (18 years old)
Nico: January 4, 1999 (18 years old)

Nolan missed the cutoff for the 2016 NHL Draft by just a few days. Honestly, it freaks me out that they’re the same age as my brother, who turns 18 in August. They’re going to play in the NHL when I didn’t even know what I was doing with my life at that age?

Hometowns:
Nolan: Winnipeg, Canada
Nico: Bern, Switzerland

Both Nolan and Nico have represented their native countries on an international level. Nolan played for Team Canada at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and tallied five points (three goals, two assists) in four games. He was slated to represent Canada at the 2017 World Junior Championship but he was not medically cleared to play at the time.

Nico, on the other hand, has much more international experience. He’s also represented Switzerland at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament the past two years, tallying eight points (four goals, four assists) in seven games. He’s also played at World Juniors each of the past three years. He has spent most of his professional career playing junior hockey in Switzerland.

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Heights (NHL Scouting Combine):
Nolan: 6′ 2″ (188 cm)
Nico: 6′ 1.5″ (186.69 cm)

Weights (NHL Scouting Combine):
Nolan: 198.82 lbs (90.18 kg)
Nico: 178.55 lbs (81 kg)

Nolan and Nico are similar in height and not-so-similar in weight but both have said that they want to get stronger and put on more muscle during the summer. Nolan already has a physical presence on the ice when he skates but Nico has a smaller body. Putting on weight seems like a good idea for both of them.

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2016-17 Seasons:
This isn’t a fair comparison for multiple reasons. Nolan dealt with a few injuries this past year but didn’t miss a step when he did come back. Nico, on the other hand, played in North American for the first time so he had to adjust to a whole new system.

Nolan played just 33 games for Brandon this season, his first season as Captain. However, he did score 46 points (20 goals and 26 assists), averaging 1.40 points per game. He did have 36 penalty minutes and finished with a +9 +/- rating. The Wheat Kings finished 4th in the East but lost in the Eastern Conference quarter-final; Nolan did not play in the playoffs. Had Nolan played the entire season, we might be having a different conversation right now.

Nico did play a whole season and he was remarkable; he adjusted to a new hockey system much more quickly than people thought he would. He tallied 86 points (38 goals, 48 assists) in 57 regular season games, averaging 1.51 PPG. He also had 24 penalty minutes and finished with a +20 +/- rating. He had seven playoff points (three goals, four assists) in six games. The Mooseheads finished 5th in their division but lost in the first round.

Nolan won the CHL’s Sherwin-Williams Top Prospect Award; he is NHL Central Scouting’s #1 ranked prospect. He could go #1 overall if the Devils select him come draft day. Nico could also go #1; he won the CHL’s CCM Rookie of the Year Award, leading all rookies in scoring with 86 points. He was also a finalist for the Top Prospect Award alongside Windsor’s Gabriel Vilardi.

Injuries: Nolan has a much-more extensive and highly publicized history of injuries than Nico does. His injury list includes a broken collarbone, a second broken collarbone, a possible groin injury, sports hernia, another groin injury, another sports hernia, and a knee/leg injury. His latest sports hernia was apparently misdiagnosed according to Patrick but no one knows his injuries better than he does. If he says he’ll be 100% healthy, he will be. His injuries shouldn’t really be a concern for the Devils or what makes or breaks their decision.

Offensive Juggernauts: Nico and Nolan are both offensive powerhouses and have the ability to make plays with their eyes closed. They’re both fast and quick on their skates, and they make the perfect passes. They know how to score goals and how to create them. Nolan is very physical on the puck. Nico also has a good defensive game and can kill penalties. They both play a two-way game as dynamic centers who can really do it all. The little things will come when they get some NHL experience.

AHL-Eligibility: I don’t know the exact rules and they’re a little hard to explain but Nico does have an upside in that he is AHL-eligible next season should he be sent down. If the Devils select Nico and he doesn’t make the team straight out of training camp, he can spend some time in Binghamton honing his game and adjusting to the higher level of play. Should the Devils select Nolan and he doesn’t make the team straight out of training camp or he does and he gets sent down later, he would have to go back to junior hockey. There really isn’t a point in him playing another season in junior hockey because there isn’t anything else for him to earn.

So all-in-all, they’re pretty similar players and they both have the potential to become top line centers in the NHL. The Devils are going to get one of them (and I hope the Flyers somehow don’t) and they’re going to go a long way to help the organization get back to where it belongs: in the playoffs.

(Also, keep an eye out for my crack comparison later on today!)