It was a busy day today as the Devils’ 2017 Developmental Camp came to an end. First, they held a scrimmage between two teams of prospects. Then, 2017’s first overall draft pick, Nico Hischier – who put in a good showing in the scrimmage – was signed to his entry level contract.
First, the scrimmage. The event was held at the RWJ-Barnabas Health Hockey House and attracted a standing room only crowd. The prospects were split into two teams, one wearing the red home jerseys (designated the home team) and the other in the road whites.
The game got underway at 12 noon with a quick ten minute warmup. Just before the opening faceoff, Binghamton Devils head coach Rick Kowalsky made a short speech welcoming the fans and mentioning how important the players present were to the future of the Devils organization.
With that, the game began. The game was split into two 25-minute periods with a fifteen minute intermission in between where the ice was resurfaced. There was a running clock with faceoffs occurring when the puck was frozen or play was whistled dead. In the final five minutes of the game, the clock would stop on whistles and breaks in play. There would be penalty shots in lieu of serving penalties in the event of an infraction. Those were not necessary as the game was played predictably clean.
The starting goaltenders were Mackenzie Blackwood for the red team and Ken Appleby for the white team. Evan Cormier came in in the second for the reds while Gilles Senn began for the whites in the second frame.
John Qunneville and Brandon Gignac did not compete due to what the team is calling lower body issues. They were kept out for precautionary reasons. Brandon Baddock had to miss due to a family event, the roster sheet said.
Nico Hischier (who was on the red team) brought fans out of their seats early on what seemed to be a break in on goal that was whistled offside. In the end, though, it was the white team that came out victorious, 6-5 after a second period surge by the red team fell just short. Team red took the shots on goal with 24 to 16 in that department. Although Nico did finish the scrimmage with a goal and an assist.
Following the game, a shootout was held with each player from each team getting to showcase their skills one-on-one with the goalies. Forward Austin Cangelosi wowed the crowd when he picked the puck up with his stick, lacrosse-style, and tried to bat it into the net. He did not score, but the crowd loved it.
It was a great day for the Devils all around. An exciting scrimmage between some of their best prospects and then, afterwards, the signing of their prized number one pick in the draft.
In a press release put out by the Devils, they stated that general manager Ray Shero announced today that the team came to terms with Hischier on his maximum three-year entry level contract. The contract, valued at an annual average value of $925,000 as well as performance bonuses, brings Hischier into the Devils’ fold.
The press release also noted that during the second day of this year’s NHL Draft in Chicago’s United Center, he received the EJ McGuire Award of Excellence. This award “is given to the candidate who best exemplifies the committment to excellence through strength and character, competitiveness and athleticism.”
In addition, it was announced that Hischier will become just the second Devils player to wear number 13. The number became avaiable last month when Michael Cammalleri (the first Devil to wear the number previously banned under the Lou Lamoriello regime) had his contract bought out and signed with the Los Angeles Kings.