Devils’ Nico Hischier will miss the start of camp

Hischier
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Devils forward Nico Hischier will not be on the ice when training camp begins on Friday, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Per Friedman, Hischier sustained a leg injury while training in Switzerland in early December, but avoided surgery. The Devils consider him more day-to-day.

The fourth-year center tweeted about returning to New Jersey from Switzerland on January 8.

Hischier, set to turn 22 on January 4, netted 20 goals and 32 assists in his rookie season after being selected first overall by the Devils in 2017. He added 14 goals and 22 assists in 58 games last season before the Devils season was cut short by the pause. He missed some time while dealing with a knee injury as well.

New Jersey is one of just seven teams beginning training camp on January 1 as one of the clubs that didn’t go to the bubble for the postseason and qualifiers in August.

There’s no indication if Hischier will miss the start of the regular season, but if he did they at least have some depth at center, with either last year’s top draft pick Jack Hughes or Travis Zajac capable of filling in, with the two of them set to compete for the second line center spot.

[MORE: Devils’ Hischier spending NHL offseason in Swiss army]

That leaves Pavel Zacha for the third line center slot and a slew of prospects such as Michael McLeod and Brett Seney who can slide in on the fourth line.

Hischier’s stat line has dipped each year he’s been in the NHL, and some of that can be attributed to injury and just less games overall last season. Still, he’s super young and easily one of the most talned players on that roster, and anyone who follows the game would have him on their top young players in the NHL list.

Whenever it is he’s back in action — which could be opening night against the Bruins in January 14 — he’ll be flanked by Jesper Bratt and Nikita Gusev as his top line wingers. The Devils finished tied for the seventh-lowest goals per game at 2.68 last season. A breakout from Hischier can help changed that narrative.

Hischier signed a seven-year, $50.75 million extension before the 2019-20 season.

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Marisa Ingemi is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop her a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi.

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