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Global Series

Hischier healthy, ready to help Devils at NHL Global Series Challenge

Center played through hand/wrist injury last season, excited for preseason game in Switzerland

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

STOCKHOLM -- Nico Hischier has recovered from a left hand/wrist injury that bothered him for much of last season and is looking forward to participating in the 2018 NHL Global Series Challenge with the New Jersey Devils in October.

Hischier, selected by New Jersey with the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, was injured early last season but did not miss a game. The 19-year-old center had 52 points (20 goals, 32 assists) and helped the Devils (44-29-9) qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since reaching the 2012 Stanley Cup Final.

"I had treatment and it bothered me some times more than others, but it wasn't that it was hurting me all the time," Hischier said Thursday during the NHL European Player Media Tour.

At the recommendation of the Devils medical staff, Hischier declined an invitation to play for Switzlerland at the 2018 IIHF World Championship in Denmark in May. He did not need surgery.

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"[The doctors] said if you don't use [the hand] for two or three weeks, it's going to go away by itself," Hischier said. "Just don't shoot pucks or stuff like that for two or three weeks."

The Switzerland-born Hischier will play a preseason game in his home country when the Devils face SC Bern at PostFinance Arena in Bern on Oct. 1 (1:30 p.m. ET) as part of the 2018 NHL Global Series Challenge.

"I'm really excited," Hischier said. "I don't know when will be the next time I get to do that, so I have to enjoy it.

"It's probably going to be the most meaningful preseason game that I'll ever have."

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The Devils open the regular season against the Edmonton Oilers at the Scandinavium in Gothenburg, Sweden on Oct. 6 (1 p.m. ET). The Oilers will play a preseason game against Kolner Haie at Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany on Oct. 3 (10 a.m. ET).

Hischier said he feels 100 percent and the layoff did not impact his offseason training. He skates with many of the SC Bern players and knows the team well from playing in its junior program and 15 games for them in National League A, Switzerland's top pro league, in 2015-16.

He expects to have a large group of family and friends in attendance and believes it will be a special for Swiss fans to see an NHL team.

"I think that's something a lot of Swiss hockey fans are excited for because with the time change (six-hour difference from ET) and everything, it's hard for a Swiss NHL hockey fan to keep up with the League," Hischier said. "Now if one team comes, that's a chance to see them and that's a good thing."

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