The New Jersey Devils and forward Nico Hischier are closing in on a seven-year contract worth $50.75 million, according to Pierre LeBrun. The deal will carry an annual cap hit of $7.25 million and will keep Hischier under contract through the 2026-2027 season.
As LeBrun mentions, Hischier joins players like Alex DeBrincat, Samuel Girard, Clayton Keller and Thomas Chabot who would have been headline restricted free agents in 2020. The list of players set to become restricted free agents in July 2020 still features a bevy of talent, however, as players like Mathew Barzal, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Mikhail Sergachev, Jake DeBrusk and others have yet to sign deals early.
This contract will make Hischier the highest-paid forward on the Devils’ roster and the second-highest-paid player overall behind only newly-acquired defender P.K. Subban. With Taylor Hall in search of a new contract, however, there is a very good chance he takes over the mantle as the highest-paid player sooner than later, assuming he and the Devils can find common ground and come to terms on an extension.
If the 20-year-old Hischier didn’t already figure to be in their long-term plans given his No. 1 overall pick status from 2017, he does now with this new mega-deal. The Swiss-forward would score a very impressive 20 goals and 52 points in 82 games in his rookie season before scoring another 17 goals and 47 points in 69 games the following year.
Devils Looking for Successful 2019-20 Season and Beyond
The Devils are building a team with a ton of talent to play with Hischier, including 2019 first-overall pick Jack Hughes, 2010 first-overall pick (of the Edmonton Oilers) Hall, Subban and other impressive pieces that could help turn the Devils back into Stanley Cup-contenders.
Unfortunately, things haven’t gone quite to plan for the Devils yet this season as they’ve gone 1-4-2 in seven games this season while being outscored 18-to-31 thus far.
In those games, nobody on the Devils has really lived up to expectation and Hischier is in that same boat. With only two assists in seven games, the Devils will need Hischier and the rest of their roster to step up and do their collective parts.
The season is very young, though, and the Devils and Hischier have a lot of time to figure things out an prove that their offseason moves weren’t all for-not.
It would be surprising to see Hischier’s struggles last the entirety of the 2019-20 season, especially given how successful he’s been in his first two years.
The same goes for the Devils team as a whole given the wealth of talent the team has accumulated. They’ll just have to figure out how to put it all together and find their scoring touch sooner than later before the gap becomes too large to bridge.