|Born||4 January 1999 |
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight||179 lb (81 kg; 12 st 11 lb)|
|New Jersey Devils|
|National team||Template:Country data CHE|
|NHL Draft||1st overall, 2017|
New Jersey Devils
Regarded as a top prospect for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, he was selected first overall by the Devils, making it the first time that a Swiss player was selected first overall.
Playing Career[edit | edit source]
Switzerland and major junior career[edit | edit source]
Nico participated in the 2011 and 2012 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournaments with a youth team from Zürich. He grew up playing in the EHC Visp program.
When he was 15, Nico moved from his native canton of Valais, in the south of Switzerland, to Bern and joined SC Bern (following his brother Luca, who had done the same at that age); this allowed him to play at the top levels of the Swiss under-17 and under-20 leagues.
He began the 2015–16 season with EHC Visp, an affiliate of SC Bern, in the National League B, the second-highest Swiss league.
However, due to several players being out with injuries in Bern, Nico was brought to the top team on 13 November that year, playing with his brother. He would play 15 games with Bern, spending most of the season with Visp.
The Halifax Mooseheads, a major junior team in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), selected Hischier sixth overall in the 2016 Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Import Draft, conducted between the three Canadian major junior leagues (the QMJHL, the Ontario Hockey League, and the Western Hockey League).
After discussions with both Halifax's general manager and Swiss former Mooseheads player Timo Meier, Nico committed to joining Halifax.
His first season with the Mooseheads saw him finish second to Maxime Fortier for the team scoring lead, and tenth overall in the QMJHL, with 38 goals and 86 points. He also led all QMJHL rookies in both goals and points.
For this, Nico was awarded the RDS Cup for being the QMJHL Rookie of the Year and the Michael Bossy Trophy as the best professional prospect in the league. He was additionally named to the QMJHL Rookie All-Star Team.
Nico would also be named the rookie of the year for the CHL, which oversees the three major junior leagues. During the playoffs, he led Halifax in scoring with seven points in six games.
Regarded as a top prospect going into the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, by the conclusion of the season Hischier was regarded as a candidate to be selected first overall.
Ranked the second-best North American skater in the NHL Central Scouting Bureau final list prior to the draft, Nico was highly regarded as a tremendous offensive talent with exceptional hockey sense. He was also regarded as a strong two-way player, and well-regarded for his strong skating abilities.
In the lead-up to the draft, Nico was regarded as a consensus top-two pick along with Nolan Patrick.
Professional career[edit | edit source]
Nico was selected with the first overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by the New Jersey Devils, becoming the first Swiss player to be drafted first overall. He signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Devils on July 15, 2017.
After a strong training camp and preseason, where he led the Devils in scoring with seven points in four games, he made the opening-day roster. He made his NHL debut on October 7, 2017 against the Colorado Avalanche.
In his second game on October 9, 2017, Nico recorded his first point with an assist against the Buffalo Sabres; his first two goals came ten days later against Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators.
Nico finished the regular season as the Devils' second best scorer (behind Hart Trophy-winning linemate Taylor Hall) with 52 points, including 20 goals and 32 assists. His performance helped the team secure their first playoff berth since 2012.
After the Devils were eliminated from the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs, Nico revealed he had been playing with a hand injury that kept him out of the 2018 IIHF World Championship.
Career Statistics[edit | edit source]
Regular season and playoffs[edit | edit source]
|2014–15||Bern U20||Elite Jr. A||11||1||1||2||2||10||3||3||6||0|
|2015–16||Bern U20||Elite Jr. A||18||11||17||28||6||9||1||8||9||2|
|2017–18||New Jersey Devils||NHL||82||20||32||52||26||5||1||0||1||0|
|2018–19||New Jersey Devils||NHL||69||17||30||47||24||—||—||—||—||—|
International[edit | edit source]
International Play[edit | edit source]
Nico's international tournament was the 2015 IIHF World U18 Championships, hosted in his native Switzerland. He scored one goal as the Swiss team finished fourth overall.
He played in the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament where he recorded six points over four games.
At the 2016 IIHF World U18 Championships, Nico had four points as Switzerland placed eighth.
At the 2016 World Junior Championships, Nico was the youngest player for Switzerland, and the second youngest player overall. He also participated in the 2017 World Juniors, scoring four goals and had seven total points in five games (the most by any player eligible for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft).
Nico also participated in the 2017 IIHF World U18 Championships, and finished with six points in five games as Switzerland lost in the quarter-finals.
Accolades[edit | edit source]
|CHL Rookie of the Year||2017|
|Michael Bossy Trophy||2017|
|Rookie All-Star Team||2017|
|E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence||2017|
Playing Style[edit | edit source]
Described as a well-rounded player, capable of offence and strong defence, Nico has been compared to former NHL player Pavel Datsyuk, who was renown as a skilled two-way forward; it is a comparison Hischier himself made, and has stated that he models his own style after Datsyuk, even wearing the same number, 13.
After being selected by the Devils, general manager Ray Shero cited both Nico's speed and commitment to defence as reasons for picking him first overall, seeing it as ideal for the team.
Head coach John Hynes commended him on "how he competes on the puck and his speed, skill set and hockey sense," saying they were already "at an NHL level."
Personal Life[edit | edit source]
Nico comes from a family of athletes; his father Rino played football for FC Naters and his mother Katja worked as a sports teacher.
He is the youngest of three siblings, with an older brother, Luca, and sister, Nina. Luca plays for HC Davos in the NL, while Nina played volleyball at a high level in Switzerland.
Because there were no rinks in Naters, Nico's mother took both her sons to nearby Visp to learn to skate and they discovered hockey there.
Nico also played football until he was 12 years old, but followed Luca and focused exclusively on hockey.