Kris Baker is once again counting down his list of top prospects available in the NHL Draft for Sabres.com. The first round of the 2017 NHL Draft will take place on June 23 in Chicago.
Team: Halifax (QMJHL)
A smart speedy centerman who can smoothly weave in and out of traffic with impeccable agility, "The Swiss McDavid" was taken with the sixth overall pick in the CHL Draft for good reason.
When it comes to the NHL Draft, Nico Hischier is slated to go even higher, as he is essentially a lock to become the highest drafted Swiss product ever, eclipsing Nino Niederreiter, who went fifth overall to the New York Islanders in 2010.
With the help of a handful of Swiss pro league games on his resume as a 16-year-old, Hischier was immediately propelled into a big-minutes role with the Mooseheads as a QMJHL rookie and didn't disappoint with a team-leading 38 goals as part of an impressive 86-point campaign in just 57 games en route to being named the CHL Rookie of the Year.
Hischier continued his ascension over the holiday break, leading Switzerland with four goals and seven points in five games at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The slick forward put an exclamation point on his draft year in the first round of the playoffs, accumulating three goals and seven points as the Mooseheads were eliminated by Rouyn-Noranda in six games.
The team that picks Hischier is getting a high-octane force who can outthink and outskate the opposition with a dangerous one-on-one game suited for all three forward positions. He backs defenders off when entering the zone with his precise cuts to the net, and he packs an impressive array of shooting and passing skills.
While he often comes in hot off the boards, Hischier is also one to manage a power play for the point where his vision and ability to be two steps ahead of the play make him a consistent threat with the man advantage.
With what appears to be an unlimited ceiling - making him a legitimate threat to be the first player selected - Hischer's quick-thinking brain and all-around two-way skills have him on track to become an elite offensive player at the game's highest level for many years to come.
For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker's website, SabresProspects.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@SabresProspects).
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