It was meant to be for Nico Hischier and the New Jersey Devils, wasn’t it?
In what was an eventful day in The Garden State, the New Jersey Devils announced Nico Hischier as the 12th Captain in franchise history on the day that the forward finally made his return to the lineup in a 3-2 defeat to the Buffalo Sabres.
Although the Devils dropped to 6-4-2 on the year after a tough loss to the Sabres, it was still a special day for the franchise who officially anointed their new leader and face of the franchise, while it was a day that Hischier will never forget.
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Out for the first 11 games of the 2020-21 season with a leg injury suffered during the offseason, Hischier’s return was always going to be met with a lot of hype and a lot of anticipation, and even more so following the events of today.
And, while he was held without a point upon his return, the points and the performances will follow for the forward who will probably need a few games in order to blow off the rust and get his legs back under him.
However, as far as his new duties go, there is no doubt that Nico Hischier was the perfect and only choice to wear the “C” on his chest for the New Jersey Devils, and it did seem that this was always going to be the eventual outcome.
After all, the other two candidates were Travis Zajac who is nearer to the end of his career than he is to the beginning of it, and Kyle Palmieri who is a Free Agent next offseason and could be dealt at the Trade Deadline. Therefore, giving the “C” to a player who should be the face of this franchise for years to come made perfect sense.
Nico Hischier was the perfect choice for Captain for New Jersey Devils
Taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Hischier has long been seen as the next franchise center for the Devils and, with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft in Jack Hughes, New Jersey have two cornerstone pieces they can build around.
While Hughes perhaps has the higher ceiling, Hischier has the potential to morph into a really nice two-way center for the Devils, someone who can be relied upon in all three zones and who can use his high hockey IQ to make big plays at both ends of the ice.
With 135 points (51 G, 84 A) in 209 career regular-season games, the left-shot can also be a pretty big offensive contributor too who can play in all situations and on both the power play and the penalty kill, and he also plays the game the right way and carries himself incredibly well on and off the ice.
At just 22 years of age, Nico Hischier is now the youngest Captain in the National Hockey League and, under contract through the 2026-27 season, this is quite clearly his team and his franchise now and he will hope to lead them back to the glory days, supported by a young core featuring the likes of Jack Hughes, Ty Smith and Mackenzie Blackwood.
There is no doubt that he has the maturity and the mentality to be able to carry this franchise back to the good old days, and he’s exactly the type of player you would want to build an organization around in how he plays the game and how he carries himself both on and off the ice. The New Jersey Devils have needed a Captain ever since trading defenseman Andy Greene at last year’s Trade Deadline, and it probably didn’t take the front office long to work out at all that Nico Hischier was the perfect man, and the only man, for the job.