As of today, Nico Hischier can now officially play in the NHL in 2017-18. The New Jersey Devils announced this afternoon that Hischier has signed an entry level contract. Per the Devils, it is the maximum entry level contract, a three-year deal with a $925,000 cap hit loaded with performance bonuses.
That Hischier was offered the maximum ELC should be no surprise. He was the first overall selection of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. You would have to go back quite a bit to identify a first overall pick that did not receive the highest possible entry-level contract. It should also be no surprise that Hischier signed the ELC. He cannot play in the NHL otherwise and the Contract Bargaining Agreement forces him to sign an ELC to start. It is a little surprising that it happened right after development camp ended today with a scrimmage for Devils members. Andrew Gross tweeted out earlier today that Hischier would be signed “sooner rather than later” according to GM Ray Shero. Soon was just a matter of hours. All the same, it was something that had to be done and I am glad it is done.
I do want to touch on the bonuses. They will inflate the cap hit you may see for Hischier. Per CapFriendly, there are two levels of bonuses in an entry level contract. There are Schedule A bonuses, which would apply for results like games played, points, etc. They are capped at $825,000. There are also Schedule B bonuses, which are awarded if the player wins a league award or places in the top five for voting. That is capped at $2 million. So Hischier could be more costly than his base salary, but if he doesn’t reach the bonuses, then the Devils can have that as a cushion. As the Devils have loads of cap space, this is not a concern.
I congratulate Hischier for signing his first NHL contract today. And this was a no-brainer for Shero. Hopefully, Hischier will out-perform that $925K salary right away. It was good he got it done now so it is one less thing to do later this summer. Let me know what you think about the signing in the comments. Thank you for reading.