New Jersey Devils: 3 Options To Replace Nico Hischier For Now

Jack Hughes #86 and Nico Hischier #13 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Jack Hughes #86 and Nico Hischier #13 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils Jesper Boqvist (90): (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) /

A Wild Open Competition

The Devils might like how their lines look with Hughes on the second line and Zajac on the third line. It definitely makes the forward lines look a lot better, and the depth of the lines look closer to a competent NHL roster when they are strong down the middle. The issue is, who can play on the top line if Zajac and Hughes aren’t replacing Hischier?

Well, the Devils have a LOT of players that can play center. Let’s start with Pavel Zacha. Okay, don’t hang up. Zacha is still a skilled player who just never lived up to expectations. He’s still a quality player. He just never came close to living up to the number-six overall pick distinction. He might be a quality dark-horse candidate.

Ruff could get completely wacky with this pick. McLeod shouldn’t be given a chance based on what he showed the past two years, but he’s a 1st-round pick and somehow Miles Wood ended up on the top line last season.

Yegor Sharangovich has been crushing it over in the KHL, and now he’s back in New Jersey for training camp. Can he really go from an afterthought to 1C in just a few months? Seems like a long shot, but we’re here for any possibility.

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The option we love the most? Jesper Boqvist. The Devils Swedish center/winger was supposed to come on the scene in a big way last season, but things just didn’t click. Then he went to the AHL and dominated. He went to the secondary Swedish league to keep fresh to start the season, and he wasn’t terribly impressive, but he might have been just focusing on staying healthy and knocking off the rust. Now that he’s warmed up, he could lose his mind in training camp and steal the 1C from everyone else trying to take it. There’s an opportunity for a very good Devils prospect. Hopefully, Boqvist comes and takes it.