7 New Jersey Devils Players Who Will Fight For Olympic Spots

Jack Hughes #6 of the United States. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)
Jack Hughes #6 of the United States. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images) /
2 of 8
New Jersey Devils
Nico Hischier #13 of Switzerland (Photo by Lukasz Laskowski/PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images) /

Nico Hischier – Switzerland

Let’s start with the obvious. Nico Hischier is going to be the first-line center for Team Swiss at the 2022 Olympics barring an injury. Hischier is a very good player and deserves the honor, but it is also for lack of depth in Switzerland down the middle. Behind Hischier, the best centers that represent the country are Pius Suter and Gaetan Haas. One wasn’t even given a qualifying offer by the Chicago Blackhawks and the other spent two seasons in the NHL before going back overseas.

Hischier went through a nightmare season in 2021. He started the year with a major leg injury. When he was finally ready to return, he got COVID-19. Then, when he was finally in ice shape, he played five games before he was hit in the face by a deflected P.K. Subban slapshot. That broke his jaw and forced him to miss more than a month.

He had to wear a cage for the rest of the season to protect the surgically repaired jaw, and that obviously impacted his play on the ice. Hischier finished the season with 11 points in 21 games. It’s not great, even for an injury-riddled year. There was some chemistry building with linemates Zacha and Jesper Bratt, but the Devils aren’t relying on just that this season. They brought in some upgrades on offense and defense. That should help Hischier build some confidence in his game before heading to China for the Games.