Nico Hischier has been awarded his second biggest accolade of his NHL career. The rookie center, who was picked first overall by the Devils last summer at the Draft, has been named NHL first star of the week for the week ending February 18.
Hischier was named first star while goalie Antti Raanta of the Arizona Coyotes was second star and center Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets third star.
The NHL’s press release regarding the three stars mentioned that Hischier scored in all four of the Devils’ games this week and shared the NHL “lead with four goals and ranking second overall with 4-3-7.” He had two points (a goal and an assist) in the shootout win versus the Flyers (February 13), three points (a goal and two assists) in the win over Carolina (February 15), and had a goal in a win against Tampa Bay (February 17) and the win yesterday over the Hurricanes.
The press release mentions that Hischier is “the fifth rookie in Devils franchise history to score in four straight team games and the first to do so since 1984-85 (Greg Adams).”
With Will Butcher sitting out the Devils’ last game, Nico became the last player on the team to have played in every game this season. His ranking among rookies is as follows, according to the NHL’s press release: tied for fourth in assists with 26; tied for fourth in shots on goal with 134; sixth in points with 39; and tied for ninth in goals with 13. All of these rankings place him in the top ten.
Nico becomes the first Devils player to rank as one of the Three Stars of the Week since Michael Cammalleri was named third star for the week ending December 6, 2015.
The funny thing about this is that Taylor Hall could just as easily have been considered for the award. He has been piling up the points, obviously, with his 18-game point streak and has been been clutch with an overtime goal scored with 23 seconds remaining in the OT period yesterday to extend the Devils’ winning streak and his own point streak. Hall and Hischier have been a one-two punch for the Devils. It is very telling that Hall’s name has come up in the conversation for the Hart Trophy as league MVP within the last week or so.
But Hischier was also very deserving, as the stats bear out, and it is great to see him being honored as such. He is starting to come into his own as you can see his improvement over the course of the season. His hockey strength, in particular, has gotten much better as he has gotten a lot stronger. It is hard to make the adjustment directly from juniors to the NHL for most players, but Nico has proven that he is up to the challenge and has responded in kind.
Congratulations to Nico on this well-deserved honor and here’s to many more such honors in his career.