Nico Hischier has been impressive in his first two years in the league since being drafted first-overall in 2017. However, while those numbers have been solid, they haven’t been exceptional either with a 20-goal rookie season the highlight of his career so far. That might make it look like the New Jersey Devils would have preferred to sign a bridge deal with their young prospect, which might give the team more flexibility in the short-term.
However, Chris Ryan of NJ.com writes that both sides made it clear to each other they both wanted a long-term deal, which is what he got in the end when Hischier signed a seven-year, $50.75MM contract on Friday. The 20-year-old made it quite clear that he wanted to stay in a Devils’ uniform and made it clear that signing an extension was a top priority.
“I felt really welcomed since day one here. I was really happy, was treated well,” Hischier said. “They give me the confidence a player needs. So I had no reason why I wouldn’t want to stay here. I was happy they felt the same way, so there wasn’t a lot of back and forth.”
Obviously, if Hischier continues to improve on his game, the $7.25MM AAV could end up being a bargain.
- Speaking of Hischier’s contract, one person who took note of the deal was New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal, who has been watching numerous pending restricted free agents already sign long-term deals. Barzal, represented by CAA’s Pat Brisson, will be a restricted free agent this summer, but so far has not signed an extension yet. Barzal says that while he’s noted the RFA signings, he isn’t worried about his contract, according to Newsday’s Andrew Gross. “At this point, it’s really just between my agent and Lou [Lamoriello] right now,” Barzal said. “I don’t talk to Lou about contract stuff. If it happens in the next two months or if it happens in June, it doesn’t really matter to me. I’m just focused on the season right now. “It’s something that eventually is going to happen,” Barzal added. I’m pretty good at just kind of pushing that stuff aside and just worrying about what’s going on right now.” While Hischier walked out with a $7.25MM AAV, Barzal could be getting something even higher, with Gross suggesting he could command a comparable contract to the one that Colorado Avalanche’s Mikko Rantanen signed this summer (six years at $55.5MM, a $9.25MM AAV).
- The Columbus Blue Jackets were without defenseman Ryan Murray Saturday and will remain day-to-day with an upper-body injury after being injured in Friday’s loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, according to the team. Murray left the game in the third period, playing only one shift and missing the final 17 minutes of the game. The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline reports it’s not considered to be a serious injury. Dean Kukan came in to replace him in the lineup.