Nico Hischier was named captain of the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
Hischier replaces defenseman Andy Greene, who was captain for five seasons before he was traded to the New York Islanders on Feb. 16, 2020.
“It’s an honor and privilege leading the New Jersey organziation as a captain,” Hischier said after a 3-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. “We have a lot of leaders in the locker room and i’m sure they’re going to help me.”
The 22-year-old center is the youngest active captain in the NHL; Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had been the youngest (24).
Hischier said he was told by New Jersey general manager Tom Fitzgerald before the game, his season debut. He also said he was given a video featuring former Devils captains, including Greene.
“They left me a video message and that’s how they talked to me,” Hischier said. “Andy Greene was one of them. I got to learn from him a lot. Those three years with him were great for me, every day on the ice, off the ice.
“It was just all former captains on the message, [Bryce] Salvador was there, ‘Greeny’ was there. It was nice to see all the former captains talking to me. it was special to me.”
Hischier had one shot on goal in 16:29 of ice time. He injured his foot during the offseason and was in NHL COVID-19 protocol until Saturday. He last played an NHL game March 10, 2020.
“So happy for him,” Devils forward Kyle Palmieri said. “He’s a such a genuine, hard-working kid. Getting to know him these last three years, you knew he was ready for it. He’s going to learn along the way, but we’re all here as teammates and to support him, and I was so happy for him. I found out last night and he didn’t find out until this morning. But it was genuine excitement. He’s a guy that leads by example and has all the respect in the world from his teammates and the people that surround him. Looking forward to having him as our captain.”
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.
“He has to play his game and lead his way,” New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff said. “His way is how he leads by example and how hard he plays, the way he acts, the way he trains. Just the way he carries himself around his teammates.”
Hischier has scored 135 points (51 goals, 84 assists) in 210 regular-season games and one goal in five Stanley Cup Playoff games.
He 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.
NHL.com staff writer Mike G. Morreale contributed to this report