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2017 Prospect Spotlight – Nico Hischier

In the latest 2017 NHL mock draft by MyNHLDraft.com, the Vegas Golden Knights are slated to draft Nico Hischier. A 17 year-old forward who’s been dubbed the Swiss Connor McDavid. Do I have your attention now? Really, scouts are gushing over Hischier’s size, skill, and maturity. He’s an A-Rated skater by NHL Central Scouting, and currently ranks third among 2017 prospects. Some believe Hischier has the potential to be the best Swiss player that ever lived.

The right-handed, 6’1, 175lbs Center consistently lights the lamp for the Halifax Mooseheads. In 31 games this year, Hischier has an impressive 23 goals and 25 assists. The rookie Moosehead even broke a club record with six points in one game. Former Moosehead players Jonathan Drouin, Brad Marchand, Nathan MacKinnon and Jakub Voracek never scored three goals, and had three assists in the same¬†game. Watch him score his hat trick, he puts himself in proper position on all three goals. Great ice awareness. On top of his scoring touch, the Swiss forward is highly proficient with the puck. Scouts evaluate Hischier’s puck control as high as any other 2017 prospect. On top of puck control, his defense is also highly rated. The rookie Moosehead’s overall play receives nothing but praise.

He can beat you in so many ways. He can beat you with faceoffs, he can beat you with defensive play. He’s really, really proud of his defense, he can beat you with his work ethic, his intensity, his skill, he can beat you on the rush. He can beat you on the power play, he can beat you on the PK. He’s a really complete player. I compare him a lot to Henrik Zetterberg when he was in his prime. When you were playing against him he was always efficient in every area of the game. -Andre Tourigny,¬†Halifax Mooseheads Head Coach

Holy smokes, Henrik Zetterberg. Vegas would be ecstatic with that type of talent.

Really creative and skilled pivot who can also fire the puck and is a highly effective player off the rush. Has the potential to be deadly on the power play. -Jeff Marek, Sportsnet

However, not everything Marek said was positive.

Scouts wonder about his strength and if that’s reflected in his being selective about when he competes hard. Wasn’t at his best at the Ivan Hlinka tournament, where some scouts said he seemed uninterested at times. Other scouts think he’s a better Swiss prospect than Kevin Fiala (NSH) or Timo Meier (SJ).

A very balanced review from the Canadian half of Wyshinski & Marek. It seems most scouts are excited about Hischier, but his negative reviews should worry George McPhee. You never want to see a high prospect uninterested in the game. Players that don’t compete hard are looked down upon by teammates and fans. Having his strength question is another concern but not as much as his intensity. Really though, who are we kidding? Even with alarming attributes, Hischier’s talent is worth the risk.

Overall, Hischier plays an NHL style of hockey. He’s incredibly skilled and mature enough to adapt to the North American game. If Vegas were to select Hischier, the franchise’s future offense would be built around the Swiss youngster. Puck control, ice awareness, skating ability and effective back-checking are all features you want from a first round pick. Hischier and two other top-rated centers are expected to go top five in 2017. The Golden Knights should be guaranteed one of them. Look across the league, teams with top-rated centers are normally successful. Tourigny, albeit his coach speaks glowingly about Hischier’s attitude and character. If he’s a good guy and highly skilled the Golden Knights should be very optimistic. Lets only hope he lands with Vegas.

He may not be McJesus, but he could be Nico the Knight.

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14 Comments

  1. PhiSig 150

    So how far apart are this kid, Nolan, and Vilardi? Is one clear above the rest or is it just pick ’em? Does the NHL run these kids through some type of combine?

    • Joe

      Yes there is a draft combine, now held in Buffalo, where they bring in the top 100, might be more, prospects for fitness testing. No shooting the puck/skating stuff is done. Prospects never touch the ice. Just measurement stuff( height weight body fat), cardio tests (stationary bike til you puke measuring lung capacity/recovery), and strength stuff (pull ups, push ups, bench press).

      • PhiSig150

        Oh that sucks. Was hoping we get to see them run through some drills and maybe some light scrimmaging. I watched some youtube clips off the site Jason linked but everyone looks like a god on youtube. That’s one thing the NFL has going for it, the lead up to the draft is pretty awesome.

      • PhiSig150

        Thats a great idea Joe. I won’t be playing hockey anytime soon but I’ll definitely will be going to UNLV hockey game. I just looked at the schedule and as luck would have it UNLV is playing my Alma Mater (Cal State Northridge) a day after my birth day. It’s like destiny.

  2. James

    Listen, I’m not even going to pretend that I know anything about draft prospects. Here is what former NHL general manager Craig Button wrote …

    6. Nico Hischier: Very skilled with excellent sense and a competitive spirit that won’t allow himself to be denied. Fast and quick that allows him to break free in open ice and agile which allows him to break free out of traffic. Quick hands and makes plays in traffic and sees offensive opportunities and takes advantage. Has similarities in style to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

  3. James

    @PhiSig 150
    Patrick appears to be clear above Hischier and Vilardi. Patrick and defenceman Timothy Liljegren are the two players to watch in the race for being selected first overall. Liljegren sounds awfully tempting.

    1. Nolan Patrick: A foundation centre. Makes everybody around him better and excels in all areas of the game. Exceptionally smart with a thorough understanding of what is necessary at any given moment in any given situation. High skill with an ease to his play and while he may not ‘catch’ your eye with flash, he plays with the substance of fellow Manitoban Jonathan Toews.

    2. Timothy Liljegren: Elite defenceman who can impact the game everywhere on the ice. Smarts and vision that is reserved for the very few. Outstanding skater in every regard and uses it to gain advantages defensively and offensively. Puck play is excellent and can thread the needle with a pass or a shot. Has a game reminiscent of Drew Doughty with a splash of Erik Karlsson.

    10. Gabe Vilardi: Great hands and is very difficult to check because of his reach and use of his body to keep opponents at bay. His speed is not great but his agility and quickness in tight areas and traffic frees him up for scoring chances. He attacks to the scoring areas and can finish as well as set up a play. Pace of play is high and is very smart in understanding how to exploit for his gain and the teams’ gain.

  4. Jason Pothier

    @James

    Button is a very good analyzer of talent as well. Liljegren would be the only defensman taken top 5 it seems. YouTube footage of him is very crumby sonits tough to really watch him on our own. However, Nico is really climbing up people’s draft lists. McKeen’s Hockey has him going #1 overall at the moment. Probably because Patrick has been out. What I like is the scouts praise for his adjustment to the N American game which is much more physical. Patrick would probably go number one but Nico maybe the next best option, if they select a defenseman.

  5. Jason Pothier

    Guys thanks again for commenting. It’s great to know you guys are interested in future prospects. Here’s what i had on Liljegren last week. Using Button’s information. And btw I’m going at it as if the Knights are drafting 4th-6th. That’s why Nico could be an option.

    http://sinbin.vegas/not-just-nolan-patrick-at-the-top-of-nhl-entry-draft/

    • James

      @Jason Pothier
      I’m really interested in future prospects, they are going to be the lifeblood of this franchise. The Kings are adamant that they would have drafted Doughty over centre Steven Stamkos despite Stamkos being ranked the number 1 prospect by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau staff. I love John Tavares, but you can make a case for drafting Victor Hedman over him. A bonafide number one defenseman is arguably a rarer commodity than a franchise centre. However, I just can’t see the Golden Knights passing up Patrick if they get the chance. Kelly McCrimmon knows him inside out.

  6. Phisig150

    So my understanding is that we’re guranteed a top 6 pick with a lottery to decide slotting. What are our odds of landing the 1st pick? Is the draft detemined by a ping pong ball system like the NBA or something else?

    • The way the NHL Lottery works is similar to the NBA style. Vegas has equal odds (approx 10-12%) of the team that finishes 3rd to worst in the league to select first.
      To break it down a bit further…there are 3 lotteries. One for each of the first three picks. When a team “wins” all of their balls are thrown out of the pot. So Vegas has a 12% chance of winning the first pick. Their subsequent odds go up depending on which team wins the pick. Etc. Last place team wins, our odds go up as significantly as possible because the highest percentage of balls are thrown out. If the best team wins (0.1%) the odds to win the second pick go up barely at all. Same goes for the third pick lottery. When the three winners are selected, the remaining teams are slotted in by record (we are 4th).

      So here’s what to cheer for. Obviously we want to hit the 12% to win the first pick, but if we don’t get it, then we want the worst team to win. If that happens, the worst we can then pick is 5th. If the 2nd worst team wins the second lottery, we move up to the worst being 4th. Plus in both cases our odds go up to hit 2nd or 3rd.

      Does that make any sense?

      • PhiSig150

        Actually yes it does thanks. Is the lotto drawing televised? Can we hope for any NBA type shenanigans? (Ewing to Knicks, Pride of Ohio Lebron to Cleveland, Wiggins to Cavs, New Orleans new owner getting first pick, etc.)

      • RJ

        Great explaination. That helped a lot, even for a veteran hockey fan.

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