The talk of the NHL town is the impending breakout that’s coming for New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes. The predictions are high, with Mike Kelly of the NHL Network predicting that Hughes will score 70 points next season. After two underwhelming years for a first-overall pick, people have high hopes for the middle Hughes brother after an offseason’s worth of hype.
However, Nico Hischier should theoretically be the player more primed for a breakout season. Hughes obviously showed a lot more of a superstar quality last season, but it’s not like Hischier hasn’t had his share of superstar opportunities in the past. He was given credit for helping Taylor Hall‘s MVP season in his rookie year. He had awesome scoring rates last season.
Hischier had the season from Hell in 2021. It started with a broken leg in overseas training before training camp even started. Then, right when he was ready to return, he got COVID. He finally made it back on the ice on February 20th, but he was back on the sidelines one week later when P.K. Subban’s slap shot deflected into Hischier’s face. He would miss the next six weeks.
Hischier had to play the rest of the season with a cage over his face. Between the injuries and the lack of production (11 points in 21 games), not many people are talking about him before the season. The question becomes, should they be? Is Hischier finally ready for his breakout season? It seems like we’ve been waiting, but now that he’s the team captain, the expectations are that much higher. He needs to prove himself this year, and here are three reasons why he might be the player to watch in 2021-22.