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NHL Draft

Nico Hischier wins E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence

No. 1 pick of Devils to receive honor prior to second round of NHL Draft

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- Halifax center Nico Hischier, chosen No. 1 by the New Jersey Devils in the 2017 NHL Draft presented by adidas, will receive the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence at United Center on Saturday.

The award, presented by NHL Central Scouting in honor of the late McGuire, is given to the candidate who best exemplifies the commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness and athleticism.

Hischier is the first Switzerland-born player to be chosen No. 1 in the NHL Draft.

 

[RELATED: Devils make Nico Hischier top pick in 2017 NHL Draft]

 

Veteran scout Peter Sullivan, who has served NHL Central Scouting the past 20 years, will present the award along with his wife Dorothy prior to the second round of the draft. 

McGuire was director of NHL Central Scouting for seven years before dying of cancer in April 2011. A coach at the collegiate, junior and American Hockey League levels, an assistant for three NHL teams during 12 seasons and a scout for two teams, McGuire began serving as director of Central Scouting in 2005.

"This award doesn't focus on the on-ice skills and attributes of the recipient, it focuses on the person," said Dan Marr, director of NHL Central Scouting. "In [Hischier] we saw the same type of passion and motivation to do the right thing and do it to the best of your ability similar to the way that E.J. strived. 

"You don't need to spend a lot of time around Nico to see that he portrays a genuine care for others and has a humbleness about him that endears him to teammates and others."

Video: Steve chats with the first overall pick Nico Hischier

The progression of Hischier (6-foot-1, 178 pounds) through the various ranks in his native Switzerland to his meteoric rise for Halifax of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in his first season in North America was quite impressive.

"He really was able to drive the team and made a difference on a team that wasn't really supposed to be there, and I think that was exciting," Devils general manager Ray Shero said. "He has the ability to score goals and he sees the ice really well. He's very quick, very agile. He's really pretty slick."

He was awarded the Canadian Hockey League rookie of the year after finishing with 86 points (38 goals, 48 assists), 11 power-play goals and three shorthanded goals in 57 games.

"It's unusual for a guy to step in and have the impact Hischier had because there's no adjustment period at all for him," said Troy Dumville of NHL Central Scouting. "He was playing with players that were not at his level but by the end of the year he was bringing guys up and elevating their game."

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