It took some time but rest easy Devils fans, Nico Hischier has signed his three year entry-level contract and will wear number 13 on his jersey. As a matter of fact, he got the maximum ELC. This means he will be making $925,000 per year including any performance bonuses that may happen.
What we’re discussing today however, is whether or not giving Hischier a maximum contract is worth it. Here are his stats over his youth career. Last season with the Halifax Mooseheads alone was more than impressive- 86 points in 57 games. He can clearly produce on the offensive side, which is very important for a player of his caliber. He’s also an incredible player when he has the puck, has a great shot, and is a very creative passer. Those are judgements that were reiterated during development camp.
Of course as does every other player in the NHL, Hischier does possess some flaws. For Hischier, the biggest is his stature. At 6’1″ and 176lbs, he really needs to bulk up the rest of the offseason. NHL defensemen are way bigger and stronger, so if Hischier wants to compete, he needs to gain some size. This could potentially cost him his roster spot if these aspects don’t change, because he’ll get tossed around during games. Believe it or not, there’s no guarantee Nico Hischier is awarded a roster spot in October. If you think he gets a spot solely based on being drafted first overall, then find a new sport to watch. He has to earn his chance to play like every other prospect. Hischier’s stick handling skills are amazing but that size of his is a major disadvantage. It’s worth noting how, he got pushed around (lightly of course) in development camp. Now think about how that will go against someone like Zdeno Chara or (someone a little younger and faster) Shea Weber.
Now let’s answer the main question of the article, is the max contract worth it? Even though he’s incredibly small, Hischier can easily improve his frame. It comes down to basing a contract off the kind of talent a player has on the ice and Hischier has the talent. So the answer to the question is- yes. This contract signing is absolutely justified. Even if he doesn’t make the team, the contract doesn’t count against the cap. If Hischier doesn’t play at least nine games, the contract remains at three years. He has to play nine games for a year of the contract to be taken away and actually count against the salary cap.
At any rate, this is a good signing by the team and totally worthwhile.
SIDE NOTE: N.J. Devil needs a little help in a Twitter fan vote for “Best NHL Mascot” he is in the championship against Gnash (Predators). Give N.J. your support here! Vote ends Wednesday!