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10 TAKEAWAYS: On Nico, Coleman and More

Amanda Stein gives her 10 Takeaways from the week, presented by Ticketmaster

by Amanda Stein amandacstein / NewJerseyDevils.com

There was no shortage of stories to sift through for this week's 10 Takeaways. A lot has happened in the last eight days since the last edition. From players to management to a U.S. Ambassador, there's plenty to talk about today. 

Another big change for the franchise, the return of Cory Schneider, a first career hat trick and all mark this week's edition of 10 Takeaways presented by Ticketmaster. 

1.

On Sunday, the team and GM Ray Shero announced an agreement to part ways, ending a run for Shero that began with the Devils in 2014. 

"Ray is a talented hockey executive and I am confident he will have great success in the future," Harris released in a statement. "However, Ray and I are in agreement that the Devils need to move in a new direction and that this change is in the best interest of the team. 

"In the coming weeks and months, we will be launching a formal search for a new General Manager.

Tom Fitzgerald will serve as Interim General Manager and he will receive support from Martin Brodeur, who will serve as an advisor to and on hockey operations.

2.

I don't know if Nico knew or not before he stepped out onto the ice in Washington, but the announcement had just come across the wire as the pregame video started playing. Hischier was not selected as one of the NHL's "Last Men In" for the All-Star Game. Instead, it would be Washington's T.J. Oshie as the Metropolitan Division representative. 

So of course, Oshie would go out there that night and show up with an All-Star performance, right? 

Wrong. 

That's because it was Nico with an all-star caliber performance. In the 5-1 victory against the Capitals, Hischier was so impressive and so precise. Two shots on goal, two goals. 100 percent accuracy shooting (*ahem* also an All-Star skills competition, just saying.). 

3.

Or maybe Nico was just out there to impress, not just his team and fanbase but also the Swiss Ambassador to the U.S. 

Tweet from @SwissAmbUSA: Great meeting #Swiss #hockey players @josieg97 with the @Capitals & @muellermirco & @nicohischier, both with the @NJDevils! Happy to see athletes shining in the . Special shoutout to @nicohischier for scoring 2 goals! @valaiswallis @NHL pic.twitter.com/8TQZ8vxeWP

Nico wasn't the only Swiss player on the ice that night, Jonas Siegenthaler of the Washington Capitals also played. While Mirco Mueller was scratched. All three players met with the Ambassador prior to the start of the game. Nico even got a special shout-out by Ambassador Pitteloud after the game on Twitter. 

4.

But then things changed on Tuesday for Hischier. He'll meet T.J. Oshie in St. Louis next week. Four days after finding out that he was not selected as one of the 'Last Men In', Hischier suddenly found himself having to change his bye-week plans. With a left foot injury to Kyle Palmieri ruling him out for the All Star Game, Nico was selected as the Devils replacement at the event. 

"I mean, I'm sorry for Palms," said Hischier. "Obviously, you never want to see a teammate get hurt, but it's an opportunity for me. I'm really excited about it… Growing up as a kid, you're watching those games. Now to be part of it, it's going to be pretty neat and I'll enjoy it for sure."

"It's representing that team," he added. "You're doing something right to be able to represent the team and I'm proud of it, that I'm able to do it. That's all I can say is I'm really proud and honored to be the representative of Jersey." 

Tweet from @amandacstein: Nic! https://t.co/FBcpWNyUI0

Hischier will become the fourth youngest Devil to represent New Jersey at an NHL All Star Game at 19 years old. The youngest was Kirk Muller in 1985, held just six days before his 19th birthday.

5.

I asked one of Nico's best buddies on the team, Jesper Bratt, what competition he really wants to see Hischier compete in over the weekend.

Video: PRE-GAME RAW | Nico Hischier  

"Fastest skater," he said with a grin. "I just want to see him out there all alone by himself skating a lap!"

6.

When the Devils lost in Toronto on Tuesday night, it was obviously disappointing after the two great performances they put together against Washington and Tampa Bay in their last two games. 

But there were also two big moments in the Toronto game that provided a little levity to a loss.

Blake Coleman now officially leads the Devils in goals, with 18. He entered the Toronto game with 15 goals this season, but a first career hat trick - and might I say, that first goal was done in spectacular style - propelled Coleman to the team lead in goals. 

Tweet from @NJDevils: Re-live Blake Coleman's first career hat trick, courtesy of @Enterprise!#WeAreTheOnes | #NJDevils pic.twitter.com/7ECtYA6WMO

"It's a little bitter-sweet, obviously," said Coleman. "It's not the game you want to score it in. But I'm the kind of guy, I'm never going to quit, I'm never going to give up. I told Travis when they got a four-goal lead that we're going to keep pushing. We made it a game but too little too late."

It's pretty remarkable though, Blake doesn't play on the Devils power play. All his 18 goals have either come shorthanded or at even strength. 

7.

Coleman probably inserted himself as a trivia question answer with this hat trick as well. He became just the second Texas-born player to record an NHL hat trick. Back in 1995 while a member of the New York Rangers, Brian Leetch scored a hat trick in a playoff game. Leetch was born in Corpus Christi, Texas.

8.

That same game marked the return of goaltender Cory Schneider to the NHL. After two months in Binghamton, re-establishing his game, Schneider was called upon mid-way through the Leafs game to take over from Louis Domingue after the score had reached 5-1. It's important to note as well, that the goaltending change was made not because of Louis' performance, he had very little help in front of him, but to help change the rhythm of the game. 

So, in came Schneider in the second period, a first NHL game since November 8th, 2019. Schneider played 27:03 and made 13 saves on 14 shots in relief. Auston Matthews had a 5-on-5 goal, while Schneider stopped all three shots faced on the Toronto powerplay and another one shorthanded. He finished the night with a .929 save percentage. 

"That's the job, you've got to be ready to jump in and make a difference," Schneider said after the game. "The guys did a good job in front of me and killed a penalty right away and allowed me to get my feet wet. A little rusty in the second but had the intermission to regroup and get ready and I felt better in the third. It's about building off of it and hoping to get another opportunity." 

Tweet from @NJDevils: Cory speaks following the loss to Toronto, entering the game in relief.When are you arent playing in the league, its a goal to get back and prove you can play. Ive done this for a long time and I still feel like I can play, its just about proving that and showing it. pic.twitter.com/bVg3cQVgUx

9.

Travis Zajac continues to climb the ranks of franchise leaders. His second period goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning was the 192nd of his career. Zajac currently is fifth on the all-time list in goals and has closed the gap once more with former Devil Zach Parise, now just two off from tying Parise for fourth all-time (194).

Zajac also climbs the all-time point list. An assist against the Rangers on January 9th was the 521st point of his career and the point where he took sole possession of third place on the all-time points list for the franchise.

10.

Several New Jersey Devils prospects are making some noise in their respective leagues. Let's start with Tyce Thompson, drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Currently playing for Providence College, his two-goal performance on January 9th put the 20-year-old as the NCAA's top goalscorer so far this hockey season. 

Tweet from @FriarsHockey: TYCE x 2!!! pic.twitter.com/xEXJqBzyiE

Thompson has 17 goals and 18 assists through 23 games.  

In the AHL, Mikhail Maltsev continues to put on a show. And the best part about it is that the show involves the same move over and over again, and goaltenders unable to stop him. 

If you'll recall in the Devils preseason, the 21-year-old dazzled at Madison Square Garden, scoring an incredible goal against Alexandar Georgiev. It was absolutely stunning.

Tweet from @NJDevils: *watches on repeat* pic.twitter.com/MOe2tCTAYY

Well, Maltsev was up to his old tricks again over the last few days.

Tweet from @BingDevils: Two goalsOne goal callSame result for Maltsev Jan. 8 & Dec. 27 pic.twitter.com/gLiAWUCRPv

He scored these near-identical shootout goals just nine days apart, and while they don't count towards his goal-total for the year, they helped the Binghamton squad continue their win streak which sits at seven as of publication. 

In 25 games for Binghamton this season, Maltsev has five goals and eight assists in 25 games. 

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