Electrifying Swiss prospect Nico Hischier is making quite the case to be selected first overall in the 2017 NHL Draft.
Hischier started the year outside the top-ten on Bob McKenzie and Craig Button’s lists, and 26th on International Scouting Service’s list. His play has been nothing short of spectacular so far this season, moving him up the majority of lists. Hischier has 23 goals and 48 points in 31 games for the Halifax Mooseheads, his first year in the QMJHL. In November, Sportsnet ranked Hischier the sixth best prospect in the 2017 draft class.
The shifty center was by far the best player for the Swiss team at the World Juniors, where he scored four goals and added three assists in five games. After Monday’s quarter-final loss to the USA, the American coach, Bob Motzko, called Hischier the best player he’s seen in the tournament.
Hischier has previously been labelled the “Swiss Connor McDavid,” though he doesn’t encourage the comparison. The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell quoted Hischier as saying “I don’t try to listen to this. I mainly try to focus on the hockey and have fun and keep working hard.”
Should Hischier continue his dynamite play, he could challenge Nino Niederreiter for the highest-drafted Swiss player in NHL history. Niederreiter was selected fifth-overall back in 2010. The 2017 draft is unlike previous years where there’s no franchise player like McDavid, Jack Eichel, Auston Matthews, or Patrik Laine. Only Nolan Patrick, Timothy Liljegren, and Gabe Vilardi appear to be locks in the top-five, and even then, not necessarily in that order. There’s plenty of room for Hischier to move past Niederreiter’s slot and make draft history.