NEWARK, NJ - The Devils have locked in a key piece to their future for the next seven years. The club has announced they've signed Nico Hischier to a seven-year deal worth an AAV of $7.25 million.
Video: Hischier Signs for Seven
"It's a really exciting day for me and my family I guess and yeah, I'm really happy with the contract. So I'm looking forward to play for this time with the Devils," Hischier said in an exclusive one-on-one interview with NewJerseyDevils.com.
Hischier says he had lunch with General Manager Ray Shero and his agent before training camp and the two sides have stayed in contact since. Ultimately, an agreement was reached on Friday, making sure Hischier does not become a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
"I think we talked about a lot of stuff and I told him that I liked it here," said Hischier. "I like what direction we're going. And he said he gives me the confidence I need. That's I think all the player can ask for, so that's why I like it here."
The 2017 first-overall pick has become one of the faces of a franchise that has been bolstered by youth, talent, and optimism about the future.
Ahead of the 2017 NHL Draft, the Swiss forward was billed as the most dynamic prospect available. The center dominated for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL, potting 38 goals and adding 48 assists for a total of 86 points in his draft year.
He was named CHL Rookie of the Year, was a member of the QMJHL All-Rookie Team, earned the Mike Bossy Trophy as the league's Best Professional Prospect, and was named the league's Rookie of the Year, on top of scoring the most goals, most assists, and most points by a first-year QMJHL player.
Following the draft, Hischier stepped in from day one and provided an immediate impact on the Devils. The rookie scored 20 goals and finished with a total of 52 points. He was second on the team in scoring, behind only Taylor Hall - the league's MVP.
In 2018-19, Hischier was poised to have a breakout sophomore season. However, injuries kept the Swiss forward to just 69 games played. He still managed 17 goals and 30 assists, giving him just five less points than his rookie campaign.
Hischier went on to lead Switzerland in scoring at the IIHF World Championships, recording four goals and five assists in eight games. He's only a few games in to what could be a big season.
"I think Nico is a foundational piece for us," said Shero. "This organization and Josh Harris and David Blitzer, our co-managing partners are aware of that. They know how he is for us both on and off the ice."
Overall, Hischier's decision to sign long-term, at this time, comes with the belief that the organization is heading in the right direction.
"If you still look at the team, we're still a young team," he said. "We've got some new players, some really good players as well, and we're an exciting team to watch, I think. All I can say or I can do is just try my best every game, every day to get the team to a point where we can succeed, and that's what I'm trying to do every day."
"I think it says a lot about having this in place and then as move forward, [it helps] planning wise, and it says a lot to our fans as well… there's some players that are signing shorter extensions and maybe waiting for the cap to go up or waiting for something or signing for the one year," said Shero. "When he's happy, he knows it and he knows how he's treated. He knows how he can have success here and he likes everything about living here."
"It's great to have him locked up, long-term, as we move forward."