Despite missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a fifth consectuive season in 2016-17, the New Jersey Devils generated a lot of excitement and optimism by winning the NHL Draft Lottery on April 29 and choosing center Nico Hischier with the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft on June 23.

The selection of Hischier, the 2017 Canadian Hockey League rookie of the year, was the first of three key moves in a span of 10 days by general manager Ray Shero that were designed to help end the playoff drought.

After drafting Hischier, the Devils signed veteran center Brian Boyle to a two-year contract worth $5.1 million on July 1 and acquired forward Marcus Johansson, 26, in a trade from the Washington Capitals for two 2018 draft picks on July 2.

The Devils have been seeking a playmaking center for some time and feel Hischier has the ability to fill that role. Coach John Hynes said the Devils expect Hischier to be able to play center and not need to be eased into the League as a wing.