The New Jersey Devils didn’t hesitate to make their pick of Nico Hischier. As the team approaches the start of the 2017 season, does the top overall pick have a shot at making the Devils opening night roster?
We’ve been pretty spoiled over the last five years of seeing top overall selections in the NHL. Names such as Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid, and Aaron Ekblad, have all made the NHL jump in year one. Judging by the way New Jersey’s roster is built, we might not see Hischier right away.
With Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique filling the center position on the top two lines, it’s going to be a struggle to get Hischier significant playing time right out of the gate. We’ve yet to hear whether the Devils intend to play their prized draft pick anywhere but Center. If things don’t change, Hischier might find himself on the roster bubble.
Of course, as with most NHL forwards, a move from center to a wing position is possible, especially for a player such as Hischier. If this is the case, we could see him claim a top-six role rather quickly, as Devante Smith-Pelly, Mike Cammalleri, and Kyle Palmeri all are expendable as part of the team’s top-six forwards.
In an article written by NHL.com’s, Ben Zweiman, Devils General Manager, Ray Shero, states that there’s a good chance Hischier will make the roster.
“There’s a spot for him [on our team] and we’ll go from there, Shero stated.
Shero would go on to add the following,
“I’ll say that he’ll make a difference, but how quickly will be up to his development path. He has the type of instincts and skill set that we don’t have in our organization.”
If you ask Ray Shero, Hischier is nearly guaranteed a roster spot come opening night. While he might not be playing his natural position of center, the skilled forward should adjust to the NHL style of play rather quickly.
Nico Hischier really has nothing left to prove in the junior leagues. With the QMJHL Halifax Mooseheads, he amassed 86 points. The next logical step would be the NHL. Although, nothing is certain as of yet.
Players such as McDavid and Matthews were considered generational talents. Hischier is a step below that. He’s not guaranteed a spot on the roster, despite what Shero might say. Hischier will have to fight and claw to garner serious minutes on the Devils. Although, it’s a pretty safe bet he sees New Jersey at some point this season.