Coming into the 2017 NHL Entry Draft there was one question, Nolan or Nico? The battle for first overall took place between the big bodied prototypical Canadian center versus the speedy agile Swiss import. When Ray Shero took the stand and announced the Devils were taking Hischier the debates began. Did they make the right decision? Will Patrick have a better career? There were also worries that if Shero made the wrong decision the Devils would be constantly reminded of their mistake every time the Flyers came to town.
Luckily for us this hasn’t been the case. Nico has blown Nolan Patrick out of the water so far in terms of production. Their careers are far from over and I think that both will be great hockey players but right now it looks like Shero made the right decision.
Tonight is the first match up of the season between the Devils and Flyers. The Devils are coming off of a tough five game winless streak and the bye. The Flyers are a team on the rise but are also coming off of their own bye week. Expect the beginning of this game to be a little sloppy and slow as the two teams get their legs back.
Players to Watch
Nico Hischier: The youngest player in the NHL has looked like a veteran this season. Hischier has taken on the role of top line center without missing a beat. He has put up 26 points this season which leads all Devils rookies. Look for him to continue creating offense tonight.
Nolan Patrick: Patrick has had a tough start to his NHL career. He hasn’t had the same impact as Hischier but has played admirably in his limited role on the Flyers. He has 8 points this season through 33 games. Patrick also confirmed everyone’s pre-draft worries by spending some time on IR earlier this season.
The Devils are hungry for a win. They let one slip away against the Islanders and should be determined not to let that happen again. If the Devils neutralize the Flyers top line with Giroux and Couturier they should be in a good spot. That is easier said than done. I think the Devils pull this one out 5-3