Devils Ink Okhotyuk to ELC

In addition to the announcement that leading goal scorer Kyle Palmieri would be representing the Devils at the 2020 NHL All-Star Game in January, the Devils also sent out a press release that their second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, Nikita Okhotyuk, has been signed to an entry level contract (ELC).

The contract starts with this season (2019-20).

Okhotyuk, a 19-year-old, 6-feet, 1-inch, 195-pound defenseman, “has spent the last three seasons with Ottawa in the Ontario Hockey League” according to the press release put out by the team. The press release notes that he has five assists in nine games this season for the 67’s, having just returned to the lineup from injury.

Last season, the Chelyabinsk, Russia native played in 59 games and had two goals, 15 assists (17 points), 43 penalty minutes and was a plus-30 plus/minus. In the 67’s OHL deep playoff run, going to the league finals, he had a goal and an assist (two points) in 18 games. He also played in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in 2018-19 according to the press release.

He has represented Russia at the 2018 Under-18 World Junior Championship and the 2019 Canada-Russia Series. In 2018, he captained Russia at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup.

The press release also notes that he is currently teammates with Mitchell Hoelscher, Graeme Clarke and Kevin Bahl in Ottawa, which has become quite the pipeline of prospects for the Devils.

Devils Sign Hischier to Extension

The Devils PR department today sent out a press release saying that center Nico Hischier has been signed to a seven-year extension with an average annual value of $7.25 million. The total value according to press release is $50,750,000 and the contract will run through 2026-27.

The press release breaks down the contract as: $7,000,000 for 2020-21, $7.250,000 for 2021-22, $4,500,000 for 2022-23, $7,750,000 for 2023-24, $7,750,000 for 2024-25, $8,000,000 for 2025-26 and $8,500,000 for 2026-27.

Devils GM Ray Shero said: “Nico is a special person who possess [sic] a team-first mentality combined with an inner drive to succeed. 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.”

For his part, Hischier told the Devils website: “I like the direction the organization is going in and the confidence they give me is all a player can ask for. We have a young, exciting team, and I am driven to try my best to help the team succeed every day. I was really welcomed here from day one, and I have always felt that I wanted to be a part of the Devils.”

The 2017 first overall pick “is in his third season with the Devils’ organization” but is currently out with an injury suffered last Monday against the Florida Panthers. He has proven to be durable otherwise, having played in all 82 games during his rookie season in 2017-18.

The Brig, Switzerland native has 37 goals and 64 assists in his three-year career (totaling 101 points – he recently recorded his 100th NHL point at Buffalo on October 5 according to the presser).

This contract is pretty team friendly with many fans already calling it a steal. Nico is a very good two-way forward already with room to grow, so getting a contract for him that is roughly comparable to Clayton Keller of the Arizona Coyotes’ new contract extension is great. This also locks up Nico through the beginning of his prime. The Devils have one of their key core players locked up for the next near-decade with enough room to spend to make the team better otherwise.