Nico Hischier is the New Jersey Devils’ first ever first overall selection in team history. No, he’s not the first first overall selection in franchise history. But it’s been a long 38 years since then. And he was the first overall selection of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Needless to say, he deserves a little more fanfare than just some photo ops and an interview of two. And Hischier will do that as he has some events in the area coming up.
First, Hischier is going to head out to Harrison, New Jersey tomorrow to watch the New York Red Bulls play some sky blue wearing suckers from the Bronx. It’s a big rivalry game and hopefully it’ll be one that the Red Bulls win by a large score because beating NYC by big scorelines is what they do whether it’s in Yankee Stadium or a real soccer stadium like Red Bull Arena.
I hope he enjoys the rivalry game; and that he learns and accepts that New York, like New Jersey, is Red. (Aside: No, I won’t be there like a good supporter should be. I’ll be here instead since it’s Day 2 of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.)
Hischier will stay in the area for a busier Monday. According to the New Jersey Devils’ media department, here is what is scheduled for Hischier:
First, at 8:50 AM, Hischier will appear on 660 AM & 101.9 FM WFAN. This would be during the Boomer & Carton Show with Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton.
Second, at 9:50 AM, Hischier will show up in Times Square for a NASDAQ Photo. It’s additional publicity.
Third, at 11 AM, Hischier will arrive at Newark City Hall to meet with the mayor of Newark, Ras Baraka.
Fourth, at 11:45 AM, Hischier will get an honor that few are able to obtain in a lifetime. He will have a sandwich named after him at the famous Newark delicatessen, Hobby’s Deli. Yes, you may enjoy what Hischier could do on the ice. Imagine how a sandwich named after him might taste.
Fifth, at 1 PM and presumably after eating one of those Nico sandwiches for lunch, there will be a press conference at the Prudential Center to formally introduce Nico Hischier to the media. Hischier, Ray Shero, Devils head coach John Hynes, and radio broadcaster Matt Loughlin will be present. Expect some good quotes out of that event in the afternoon.
But you don’t have to wait until Monday afternoon to find out how Nico Hischier reacted to being drafted on the floor of the United Center. NBC Sports has a video where he’s asked about the selection shortly after it happened. In his words, he was “speechless.” No, not in a literal sense. Clearly, he was still processing the reality that not only was he drafted to play in the greatest hockey league in the world - but that he was drafted ahead of everyone else in this year. Thanks to NBC Universal Sports for the tip on this video, by the way.
I’m confident he’ll have a little more to say on Monday. And if not, that’s OK. His job is to do what he does on the ice, not cut a promo or create a catchphrase or anything. I’m sure Shero and Hynes will have plenty to say anyhow. Hischier did have a little more to say. As reported by Chris Ryan at NJ.com, this is what Hischier says he wants to work on:
"I'll bring a two-way game, I really want to do my defensive game first, then step into the offense and create some offense, for sure."
"Physically, get some weight on. But all other skills," he said. "I don't think you can say you're good enough. The game is at such a high level, so you've got to improve all your skills."
Lastly, in case you missed it on NBC SN or if you want to relive the moment, here’s the video of that, with a little analysis and plenty of praise for the pick. Again, thanks to NBC Universal Sports for the tip on this video, by the way.
And for further analysis, here’s an extended video of Pierre McGuire, Bob McKenzie, and Craig Button discussing the top draft picks of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Of course, it starts with Nico Hischier:
But going back to the start, I am happy to see that there are things for Nico Hischier to do. He’s a top draft pick. While I understand he has yet to show anything at the NHL level, he should be treated like he is kind of a big deal. He’s the first first overall draft pick for the Devils and the first for the franchise in 38 years. This is a big deal. The Devils should have him out and about in the area. It’s good for him to have some fun and check out the NJ/NY metropolitan area. It’s good for visibility purposes. It’s good to have him represent the organization in public right away. It’s good for Devils fans who like sandwiches at Hobby’s. He should get more than just a low-key press conference and then an appearance at July’s developmental camp. (Aside: There will be a developmental camp for prospects in July. Expect it to be at the Barnabas Health Hockey House - the practice rink.) This is good and I hope the Devils continue to promote him along with their other “name” players - namely, Taylor Hall and Cory Schneider.
Anyway, Day 2 of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft is tomorrow. While the picks may not be as glamorous or glorious as Nico Hischier going first overall, they will matter as they will be part of the future for a rebuilding Devils team. The open post will go up at 9 AM ET, the second round of the draft will start at 10 AM ET. I’ll see you then. Thank you for reading.