With teams trying to get a jump on their 2020 restricted free agents, another team has started negotiations with one of their players. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun (subscription required) writes in his notebook that the New Jersey Devils have started negotiations with center Nico Hischier. While the talks are preliminary so far, it’s a good sign the team wants to tackle the negotiations early as opposed to having it affect their training camp or a potential holdout of the 2020-21 season.
Hischier, the first-overall pick in the 2017 draft, has been a key piece to the Devils team the last two years. He put up a solid rookie campaign as an 18-year-old, scoring 20 goals for a total of 52 points. Despite missing 13 games last season, his numbers were solid as well, putting up 17 goals and 47 points and has established himself as a reliable top-six player who is currently centering the top line. Whether he will remain the top-line center or move to the second line once 2019 first-overall pick Jack Hughes establishes himself is unknown, but it gives the Devils two elite centers to build around.
- The Carolina Hurricanes got some news on the health of veteran defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, who is still recovering from shoulder surgery in early May, is getting closer to a return, according to News-Observer’s Chip Alexander. Head coach Rod Brind’Amour said he expects van Riemsdyk to return “soon,” but isn’t ready to refer to him as day-to-day either. “He’s definitely getting closer,” said Brind’Amour. The 28-year-old played 78 games for the Hurricanes last year.
- New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said that veteran forward Andrew Ladd practiced Saturday and will continue to practice with the team in a non-contact jersey for a while, according to Newsday’s Andrew Gross. The Islanders intend to protect the 33-year-old from injury from the torn ACL injury he sustained in March and isn’t expected back until November. Ladd only played 26 games for the team last season and only produced 12 goals the year before. Ladd still has three more years on his contract after this one at $5.5MM AAV.
- New York Rangers prospect K’Andre Miller, the team’s 22nd-overall pick in the 2018 draft, was suspended by the University of Wisconsin hockey team for a violation of team rules, according to Wisconsin State Journal’s Todd Milewski. No word on how long the suspension is for or whether he will miss the season opener on Friday against No. 11 Boston College, but associate head coach Mark Osiecki said that Miller was still with the team and involved in off-ice workouts. He is not practicing with the team at the moment. The blueliner scored five goals and 22 points in 26 games last season as a freshman with the Badgers.