New Jersey Devils: Calm Down About Nico Hischier

Nico Hischier #13 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Nico Hischier #13 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Sometimes, we all just need to breathe. We need to sit back, take a breath, and clear our heads. After Tuesday night’s loss to the Buffalo Sabres, the New Jersey Devils need to seriously take a breath. Based on what we see on Twitter, so does the Devils’ fanbase.

It was a brutal and terrible loss. The Sabres were on the back half of a back to back, the Devils should have been desperate after losing both games over the weekend, and the Sabres were down three defensemen. The Sabres were dealing with negative headlines surrounding Jeff Skinner‘s $9 million salary going to the owner’s box once again.

Meanwhile, the Devils should have been full of positives. Travis Zajac was playing game 1,001. They had a fully-healthy lineup that was starting to gel. Nico Hischier finally returned to the lineup and was named captain.

Nico Hischier is not the problem with the New Jersey Devils.

It’s that last part that stands out. Since Hischier returned to the lineup, the Devils are 0-3-0. They can’t even salvage a single point on their current three-game losing streak. Neither can Hischier. The Devils have been bad since Hischier and Zajac returned to the lineup, and things hit a fever pitch with the fanbase when Hischier mishandled a really good chance.

That has a lot of fans wondering if the Devils jumped the gun naming Hischier captain. Sure, the Devils have not won a game since Hischier was named captain. That is technically a fact. This is clearly a “correlation does not imply causation” situation. The cause of Hischier becoming captain does not lead to the effect of the Devils losing.

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Other Devils fans are blaming Hischier returning from injury too quickly. He was dealing with a broken fibula and then immediately was diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus. It’s been a rough start to the season for Hischier, but to give up on the Swiss phenom after three games back is outright insane.

His advanced stats were not good on Tuesday, but over the three games since returning, he’s been fine. He has more takeaways at 5v5 than he has giveaways. He’s taking a shot per game at 5v5. He’s been on the ice for more chances at even strength than his line has allowed. The other team has only scored one even-strength goal while he’s been on the ice these three games.

Obviously, the penalty kill is terrible, and Hischier hasn’t helped, but the issues on that unit are beyond Hischier. They had major issues before he was in the lineup, so those issues shouldn’t be part of his early analysis.

Basically, the point is we need to be patient with Hischier. He’s coming off a wild offseason, he hasn’t had a full team practice since March 2020, and the team had chemistry without him in the lineup. They just need to get that chemistry back, and it will happen. There’s no reason to doubt Nico Hischier. He’s going to be just fine, and he will be a reason why the Devils win games later this season.