The New Jersey Devils announced on Saturday that they signed 2017 number one overall draft pick, Nico Hischier, to a three-year entry-level contract worth 925,000 per season, plus performance bonuses.
Executive Vice President and General Manager, Ray Shero, made the announcement following the conclusion of the team’s development camp that the 18-year-old, Swiss-born player was inked to the maximum salary allowed for entry-level contracts.
The Devils made Hischier the first ever player from Switzerland to be chosen first overall, during last month’s National Hockey League Entry Draft in Chicago, Illinois. The Devils received their first ever number one slot in the NHL Draft, after winning the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery and moving up from the fifth slot to the top spot in the draft.
On Saturday, Hischier participated in the team’s Red and White Scrimmage between the prospects that were invited to the development camp, at the RWJ Barnabas Hockey House in Newark, New Jersey. Season ticket holders were invited to watch the scrimmage between the team’s future stars.
During the 2016-2017 season, Hischier played for the Halifax Mooseheads, of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, as he led all rookies in scoring with 38 goals and 48 assists in 57 games. He added three goals and four assists in six QMJHL playoff games.
The Canadian Hockey League and QMJHL Rookie of the Year, was also QMJHL Offensive Rookie of the Year, a member of the QMJHL All-Rookie Team and recipient of the Mike Bossy Trophy for QMJHL Best Professional Prospect. During the second day of the NHL Draft, he was awarded the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence, given to the player that best exemplifies the commitment to excellence through strength and character, competitiveness and athleticism.
The Brig, Switzerland native, represented his homeland during the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships in Toronto, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec. He put up seven points during the tournament.
The team also announced that Hischier will become the second player in team history to don the number 13. He wore the number for the Mooseheads, for his favorite player, former Detroit Red Wing star, Pavel Datsyuk. Hischier’s playing style has also been compared to Datsyuk.
Shero said, “He has been everything I had hoped he would be, I know this is not an evaluation but certainly his on-ice skill set is really fun to watch. He is a respectful kid and the way that he carries himself is nice to see and he has interacted well with the younger players and veterans that came in. That is his upbringing, but it has been a great learning week for him and it has been nice to see the type of person he is as well.”
The Devils also noted that they are continuing to work to sign former Harvard Crimson forward, Alexander Kerfoot and restricted free agent defenseman, Damon Severson to contracts with the club. Kerfoot can become an unrestricted free agent on August 16, if the Devils can’t work out a contract agreement.
The 22-year-old Harvard captain, put up 16 goals and 29 assists in 36 games last season. He was a first-team All-Ivy League player, as well as a finalist for the 2016-2017 Eastern College Athletic Conference Player of the Year.
The Devils fifth round pick, 150th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft also finished in the top 10 for the Hobey Baker Award, for top player in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Division I hockey.
Severson, 22, is coming off a three-year, two-way, 2.85 million-dollar contract with New Jersey. He was given a qualifying offer on June 26, which gives them a little bit of more time to work a way with the right-handed defenseman.
In 80 games, during the 2016-2017 campaign, Severson put up three goals and 28 assists while patrolling the blueline with captain Andy Greene.