New Jersey Devils make Nico Hischier top pick of NHL draft

The New Jersey Devils have selected center Nico Hischier as the no. 1 overall pick in the NHL draft.

Hischier led Quebec Major Junior Hockey League rookies with 38 goals and 86 points for the Halifax Mooseheads. He spent the previous two seasons in the Swiss pro league, where he was coached by current Ottawa Senators coach Guy Boucher.

His selection is the highest for a Swiss-born player. He scored three goals and seven points in five games for Switzerland at 2017 World Juniors.

Nolan Patrick went second to the Philadelphia Flyers. Patrick, who played for the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, has battled sports hernia injuries that limited his playing time to 33 regular-season games and four postseason games during the 2016-17 campaign.

Patrick scored 92 goals and 205 points in 163 career games with Brandon.

The 6-foot-2 Patrick has hockey in his blood as both sides of his family have produced NHL players. His father Steve Patrick played in 250 NHL games, as well as his uncles James Patrick (1,280 games) and Rich Chernomaz (51 games).

Patrick also held the top spot in the NHL Central Scouting Department’s final rankings in April.

Hischier, 18, will have big expectations as the top pick won the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) in three of the last four seasons.

Hischier fits in nicely with general manager Ray Shero’s desire to put a faster team on the ice. New Jersey is coming off its worst season in nearly three decades, finishing with a 28-40-14 record.

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The Devils franchise hasn’t picked first since 1979, when they were the Colorado Rockies and took Rob Ramage at No. 1 overall.

The last two times that the Devils picked a player in the top three, they selected a Hall of Famer — Scott Niedermayer (1991) and Brendan Shanahan (1987).

ESPN’s Stats & Information contributed to this report.