/Nico Hischier, the N.H.L.’s Top Draft Pick, Takes a Long Route From the Alps to the Devils

Nico Hischier, the N.H.L.’s Top Draft Pick, Takes a Long Route From the Alps to the Devils

“They told me I wouldn’t get a stick until I could skate,” he said, smiling, during an interview Monday at Prudential Center.

Hischier preferred hockey almost immediately because it was a fast game with a heavy emphasis on teamwork, but he did not decide to plunge into the sport full time until he was 12, significantly later than when many of the Canadians, Americans and Russians in the N.H.L. started playing.

Sometimes, as Devils Coach John Hynes pointed out, a prospect like Hischier, coming from a country like Switzerland, can fly under the radar. Hischier has played only one season for a North American team: the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

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Hischier, 18, during a news conference in Newark on Monday. He said he had never been to the New York area before the weekend.

Credit
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

“What you’re looking at is a guy who has a big upside and isn’t even close to reaching the ceiling,” Hynes said.

Playing in a smaller country with a lower hockey profile had its benefits….

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