Nico Hischier was named captain of the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
Hischier replaces defenseman Andy Greene, who was captain for the previous five seasons before he was traded to the New York Islanders on Feb. 16, 2020.
“Kind of a surreal feeling but right away I got some nice messages from the former captains,” Hischier told MSG Network. “Giving me some advice. Just try to not to do too much and try to be yourself. That’s what I’m trying to focus on.”
Hischier made his season debut against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. He sustained a foot injury during the offseason and had been in NHL COVID-19 protocol until Saturday. He last played an NHL game March 10.
The 22-year-old center is the youngest active captain in the NHL; Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had been the youngest (24).
The No. 1 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, Hischier signed a seven-year, $50.75 million contract ($7.25 million average annual value) with the Devils on Oct. 18, 2019 and was named an alternate captain last season.
“I found out right before the game so obviously a huge honor,” Hischier said. “It’s a privilege to be a captain for this organization and lead this team. We obviously have some other great leaders in [the locker room] too that help me out. It felt surreal obviously. I tried to put it in my back pocket and focus on the first game I had today.”
Hischier has scored 135 points (51 goals, 84 assists) in 209 regular-season games and one goal in five Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Hischier is the 12th captain in Devils history and second-youngest (Kirk Muller; 21). He is one of two Switzerland-born captains in the NHL (Roman Josi, Nashville Predators).
Two NHL teams remain without a captain: the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators.