The New Jersey Devils have extended one of their key forwards, but unfortunately it’s not Taylor Hall. The team has reached a seven-year extension with Nico Hischier that will carry an average annual value of $7.25MM. Hischier is in the final year of his entry-level contract and scheduled for restricted free agency next summer. Chris Johnston of Sportsnet and PuckPedia provide the full breakdown:
- 2020-21: $4.0MM salary + $3.0MM signing bonus
- 2021-22: $7.25MM salary
- 2022-23: $4.5MM salary
- 2023-24: $7.75MM salary
- 2024-25: $7.75MM salary + 10-team no-trade clause
- 2025-26: $8.0MM salary +10-team no-trade clause
- 2026-27: $8.5MM salary +10-team no-trade clause
The first-overall pick from 2017, Hischier stepped directly into the NHL and had immediate success on a Devils team that shocked many by making the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Scoring 52 points he trailed only Hart Trophy-winner Taylor Hall for the team lead, but actually finished seventh in Calder Trophy voting thanks to an impressive rookie class (Mathew Barzal and his 85-point season took home the award).
While his sophomore season was marred by injury and he’s already been banged up this year, Hischier hasn’t disappointed fans in New Jersey that saw him as a rock-solid two-way center in his draft class. Slotting him in along with Jack Hughes as the team’s top-two pivots for years is the basis of a very good forward group, even if it’s not paying off so far this season.
After a summer which saw several star restricted free agents miss part of training camp and the preseason, teams are locking up their young names even quicker this time around. Hischier joins names like Alex DeBrincat, Clayton Keller and Thomas Chabot signing long-term deals well before they hit the open market.
Because he hit the NHL so young, a seven-year extension actually buys out three UFA seasons for Hischier, keeping him at a reasonable price for the Devils to work with. While his offensive totals haven’t quite popped off the page so far, his underlying numbers and defensive ability make for a very valuable player.
For the Devils, who desperately want to extend Hall if they can before he hits unrestricted free agency, getting Hischier done now gives them a ton of cost-certainty moving forward. Hughes won’t need an extension for another few seasons, while P.K. Subban and Damon Severson are locked in through at least the 2021-22 season.
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic was first to break news of the deal.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
Seems like he’s been a bit of a disappointment since going first overall but if he does eventually put it all together, this could be a steal of a contract in a few seasons.
Hopefully, for Nico, maybe someone in the NJ ranks can whisper in his ear “It’s OK to be assertive, Nico! Show your stuff!” The kid can play, he just needs to get the epiphany that he can be a go-to guy and not be hammered for that.
interesting Devils only have $4, 874,379 in remaining cap space, thou have a few expiring contracts after season of signifagence as in Vatanen , about what they have in cap space at $4,875,000 in salary for Sami, and few others under $1 million , excep Simmonds is up at end of season, What are they gonna do with Hall, or are they gonna dump salaries and make a few moves? Huh? Where you at Mac, need your help.
Even if he ends up being a 60-point guy it’s not a bad contract. Not at least in comparison to that Hayes deal.
(In my best Ted Cassidy voice) You Rang? Taylor is going to be headlining discussions for maybe the rest of the season. Seems there is a split as to him ever reconsidering EDM, considering the (apparent) unpleasantness towards him by some. The popular, but never accurate (in the cap era) phrase “There will be 30 other teams in on him” will continue to be bandied about. I maintain that most high-profile UFAs and UFAs-to-be don’t just want to go somewhere to get paid the big $$$. They want to win, and get paid, but will sometimes settle for a little haircut if it means joining a potential Cup-contender. NJ is trying to present an encouraging picture of what the future can hold there, but he has to be the one to judge its legitimacy. If he thinks it’s smoke-n-mirrors, then he’ll leave for greener pastures. But, unlike Bread & Bob, I think he’ll have the decency to tell Ray Shero and company what his plans are.
Idk. This contract at 7 years should’ve been more in the 5.5-6.25 range. I think they overpaid for that term so far. Clearly this is a contract based on potential but they also gave him late no trade and a decent raise on salary at the end.
Contracts based on potential rarely work out well for an organization, but maybe Hischier will be an outlier. (He’s certainly now worth that kind of money based on his career to date.) Not being a Devils fan, what I find most interesting is the 2022-23 salary is nearly a $3 million drop from the previous season. 2022 is when the CBA expires. I’m thinking the salary drop is meant to limit Nischier’s finanical exposure in the event of a strike or lockout. Hope i’m wrong. No NHL fans want another work stoppage.