5 Players Who Brought New Jersey Devils To First Place

Miles Wood #44 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images)
Miles Wood #44 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
Nico Hischier #13 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

1. Nico Hischier

Nico Hischier has been the Devils’ best player. Bratt has the points, Marino has the analytics, and others have more points, but Hischier has done EVERYTHING. Hischier is second on the team in ixG and individual high-danger chances (to Jack Hughes). He’s taken the most hits on the team. That might seem like a negative, but Hischier is getting himself to those dangerous areas that lead to goals. That’s why Hischier has a tie for the team lead in goals with five.

On top of that, Hischier has become one of the best two-way forwards in the league. On the penalty kill, Hischier has been on the ice for only one goal against in 23 minutes. He was also on the ice for a shorthanded goal, which makes his time on the PK even better.

Hischier has been incredibly important to the Devils this season. The captain has been the driving force for their wins. He’s spent as much time stopping other teams from scoring as he’s helped his team score. The reason he’s ahead of Marino and Bratt is that he can do everything everywhere. Bratt is good defensively, and Marino has been better offensively. Hischier is great at both.

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Ruff has been leaning on Hischier more and more after he missed the season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers. He had north of 20 minutes in both the Edmonton and the Calgary games, two games where every minute was crucial. Expect that to happen more often because Hischier is playing on another level, and the Devils need him on the ice as long as ever.