As the top pick of the 2017 NHL Draft, Nico Hischier had plenty of eyes on him as the New Jersey Devils opened their season against the Colorado Avalanche.
Despite a strong showing in which he fired six shots on goal, Hischier wasn’t able to score his first goal or assist in the NHL.
Instead, the Devils other young players stole the spotlight … which isn’t so bad, when you consider that it resulted in a dominant 4-1 victory.
Avalanche fans hoping not to see much of Will Butcher were wise not to look at the box score, as Butcher became the first Devils player to ever record three points in a rookie debut. He notched those three assists through just 8:13 of ice time through the first two periods. The Devils got cheeky with a great tweet in that regard:
Jonathan Bernier kept a 4-1 game from getting out of hand with some absolutely spell-binding saves. You know a stop is special when there’s basically zero margin for error, as Damon Severson was able to elevate his attempt at a seemingly gaping net:
That was so good, it almost made people forget about Bernier goofing about Nelson Mandela.
Jesper Bratt was the other young Devils player to make an impression, scoring a goal and an assist himself. And yes, there were a slew of bad/great/bad-great brat-related puns.
It remains to be seen if Palmieri misses serious time, while Drew Stafford was also hurt during the game. Beyond the Avalanche being, um, flawed, those issues put a slight damper on what must have been an exhilarating afternoon for Devils fans.
So much happened. And much of it looked very, very good for this fascinating rebuild.