It was reported earlier this afternoon that general manager Ray Shero is nearing a contract extension with his first-line center. Nico Hischier is receiving a seven-year extension with an average annual salary of $7,250,000. This will keep him in a Devils uniform until at least age 28 when he will then become an unrestricted free agent.
This is great news for many different reasons. First off, it avoids any possibility for a standoff similar to what we saw between many general managers and their young restricted-free agents this past offseason. Secondly, the deal can look like an absolute steal in the next couple years. This is particularly due to the constant rise of the salary cap making it so that future contracts have a much higher annual average salaries. Lastly, seven-million-dollar contracts are not just handed out to anybody. This move confirms the Devils did the correct thing in drafting Hischier first overall just a few years ago.
Many who do not follow the Devils may not know exactly how valuable Hischier is. The 20-year-old forward has totaled 101 points in 157 career games (0.64 points per game), a +8 rating, and has established himself as one of the better defensive forwards in the whole league, as is evident by his 97 takeaways over his career. Also worth mentioning is – even though it is a small sample size – Hischier has won 58.8 percent of the faceoffs he has taken this season. This is an encouraging sign, given that the prior two seasons of his career he has been under 45 percent.
His underlying numbers are also something to boast about. He owns a career 3.4 Relative Corsi for % (Rel CF%), which shows the Devils are always a better team with him on the ice rather than off. His expected goals for % (xGF%) of 52.06 over the previous two seasons are above the league average. Per the graph above, Hischier is also near the top percentile in shot contribution numbers, possession entries, and possession exits. To illustrate his skill on defense, you can see the chart compares him to four-time Selke Trophy winner Patrice Bergeron, and he matches up well to Bergeron in several categories.
|Name||Team||Age / Yr. Signed||Length||Annual Salary||Points per game|
|Kyle Connor||WPG||22 / 2019||7||7,142,857||0.71|
|Anze Kopitar||LAK||21 / 2008||7||6,800,000||0.86|
|Nathan McKinnon||COL||20 / 2016||7||6,300,000||0.70|
|Sean Monahan||CGY||21 / 2016||7||6,375,000||0.67|
|Clayton Keller||ARZ||21 / 2019||8||7,150,000||0.47|
|Nico Hischier||NJ||20 / 2019||7||7,250,000||0.64|
All-in-all, early indications show Hischier is going to continue being a force both offensively and defensively. The $7.25 million annual salary is a great value for a player of Hischier’s caliber (see chart above for contract comparisons). After all, given that he is just 20-years of age means he will just keep getting better and better.
The seven-year deal at an annual salary of $7.25 million for the 20-year-old center Nico Hischier should excite Devils’ fans. The former first-overall pick has flashed stardom courtesy of his scoring touch and above-average defensive play. As the salary cap rises, and Hischier continues to develop, this deal will only look better. Kudos to general manager Ray Shero once again for pulling off another solid move.