Devils, Hischier reach 7-year, $50.75M deal

NHL

Cross another big name off the list of restricted free agents next summer: Center Nico Hischier and the New Jersey Devils have come together on a seven-year deal worth $50.75 million.

Hischier, 20, was the first overall pick in the 2017 NHL draft. He has two assists in six games this season, having missed Thursday’s win over the Rangers with an injury. The Swiss-born center has 37 goals and 64 assists in 157 career NHL games.

“Nico is a special person who possess a team-first mentality combined with an inner drive to succeed,” Devils GM Ray Shero said. The entire organization is thankful to him and his family for believing in our future. We are excited that he will continue to play a prominent role with us for many years to come.”

The contract carries an average annual value of $7.25 million. The first season (2020-21) has a base salary of $7 million, while Hischier will make $8.5 million in the final season (2026-27).

Hischier joins several young NHL players that have signed contract extensions ahead of restricted free agency in June 2020. That includes Chicago forward Alex DeBrincat (3 years, $6.4 million AAV), Arizona’s Clayton Keller (8 years, $7.15M AAV), Ottawa defenseman Thomas Chabot (8 years, $8M AAV) and Colorado defenseman Samuel Girard (7 years, $5M AAV).

This trend comes after last summer’s restricted free agent tension, as several star players waited until weeks before the season to sign. One of those players — Carolina’s Sebastian Aho — inked an offer sheet with Montreal that was later matched by the Hurricanes.

With Hischier signed, the Devils have secured a part of their foundation, but the question remains whether winger Taylor Hall — Hischier’s linemate — will remain a part of that foundation. Hall is an unrestricted free agent next summer, and would be coveted if he hits the market.

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