Nico Hischier – His Coach’s Perspective
February 26, 2017
By Grant McCagg
Earlier on in the season I had the pleasure of interviewing Halifax Mooseheads’ Head Coach Andre Tourigny, and the first topic of conversation was his star young player Nico Hischier, a first-year QMJHLer from Switzerland who has taken the league by storm, and is ranked first overall on our draft list. He was so in-depth with his appraisal of Hischier that we figured it would be best to simply present all of his thoughts on Hischier in the following “story” – it gives you a great idea of just how highly Tourigny regards his young phenom.
“He can beat you in so many ways. He can beat you with faceoffs. he can beat you with defensive play..he’s really, really proud of his defence, he can beat you with his work ethic, his intensity, his skill, he can beat you on the rush. He can beat you on the power play, he can beat you on the PK.
He’s a really complete player. I compare him a lot to Henrik Zetterberg when he was in his prime. When you were playing against him he was always efficient in every area of the game.
Nico is really competitive, and he has a great skillset. He can skate, he’s really shifty, he can pass, he has quick hands, good shot. He works so hard defensively. I’ve never seen a player his age so proud of his defence. He’s the whole package.
If you pick top five that means you have to build your team around that player, I would be so happy to build my team around him for the next 20 years …a person like Hischier…a player like Hischier. Nico is such a good man, good heart. He’s very polite, respectful, I’ve spoke to his parents and I can’t say enough about the values. A lot of reasons why he’d be a really really good pick.
When you are that good defensively at that age….I’ve never seen that before. I’ve coached really good players at U-18’s and World juniors, in the NHL The pride he has to play well defensively..I’ve never seen that. He studies so much defensively.
We’re doing a drill with defencemen under pressure on a breakout, a drill where defencemen have to break out under hard pressure..and Nico asked me if he could go as a defenceman. I asked why, and he said sometimes during the game when I’m back with the puck I’m under pressure..I want to make sure I can break out with the puck from my own one.’
I said ‘oh my god.’
He wants to be a pro, he wants to be good defensively. Every time he’s here in my office the first thing he asks me about is his defence. He is special, he’s an awesome player. He sees the games sometimes where nobody can.
I talked to a lot of scouts this weekend and they were saying he will go really early. He weighs 177. He’s lean right now but he will fill out. You look at Kyle Turris…Kyle will never fill out..he’s so skinny..that’s not the case with Nico. ..he will fill out, get bigger.
When we recruited him he answered all the good questions..what’s your workout program..he had all of that planned out.”