After nearly two months, the Devils ended the debate over the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.
The Devils selected center Nico Hischier of the Halifax Mooseheads with the top pick on Friday night in Chicago, marking the team's first No. 1 overall Draft pick since the team moved to New Jersey in 1982.
"I can't really believe it. I'm speechless," Hischier said. "I'm lucky and it's my biggest goal to play in the NHL. I'm so happy. I'm happy that my family is here, and I'm happy for all those guys who supported me."
The Devils took Hischier over forward Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheatkings. Patrick and Hischier have been at the top of Draft boards all winter, and experts were split between which player the Devils would take.
Patrick was long projected as the top player in the 2017 class, but injuries cost him time in the 2016-17 season, and Hischier had a head-turning season during his first season in North America playing for Halifax.
The Swiss forward finished with 86 points -- 38 goals and 48 assists -- in 57 regular-season games before adding seven points in six playoff games.
His biggest moments came playing for Switzerland in the World Juniors Championship in December and January, where he racked up highlight play after highlight play. He finished with four goals and three assists in seven games.
5 things about Hischier
Hischier isn't the same well-rounded player as Patrick, but Devils Director of Amateur Scouting Paul Castron called him a dynamic offensive player, and the team likes his skating ability and play away from the puck.
Castron gave NJ Advance Media his take on Hischier's game in May:
"He was on a bit of a weaker team that probably wasn't expected to do much, and he was a big reason why they were able to make the playoffs. He's another player who really does compete on both sides of the puck. He's maybe a little more dynamic in the way he scores and sets up plays.
"He just plays the game with so much intensity and brings a high-end skill level with him. He's one of those kids, he wants the puck in pressure situations and he wants to make a difference, and the majority of the time, he does make a difference."
The Devils have nine picks remaining in the 2017 NHL Draft. Their next pick will be in the second round at No. 36 overall. They have two picks in the third, fifth and sixth rounds.
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Source : http://www.nj.com/devils/index.ssf/2017/06/devils_select_f_nico_hischier_with_no_1_pick_in_20.html