By JAY COHEN
AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) -- The New Jersey Devils grabbed Nico Hischier, and the Philadelphia Flyers felt quite comfortable with Nolan Patrick.
It was all about the forwards at the top of the NHL draft.
Hischier went No. 1 overall to New Jersey on Friday night, and Patrick was the No. 2 pick by Philadelphia despite being hampered by a groin injury last season. The expansion Vegas Golden Knights also opted for forward prospects with two of their three picks in the first round, taking Cody Glass at No. 6 and Nick Suzuki at No. 12 before selecting Swedish defenseman Erik Brannstrom with the 15th pick.
"I'm speechless," Hischier said. "I don't know what to say. It's just an incredible feeling. You can't describe it."
Seven of the top 10 picks were listed as centers. Defensemen Miro Heiskanen (No. 3 overall to Dallas) and Cale Makar (No. 4 to Colorado) and right wing Owen Tippett (No. 10 to Florida) were the only exceptions.
The 18-year-old Hischier is the highest drafted Swiss player in the NHL history. He had 38 goals and 86 points in 57 games with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this past season. He spent the previous two seasons in the Swiss pro league, where he was coached by current Ottawa Senators coach Guy Boucher.
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.
But Hischier is just over 6-feet tall and listed at 179 pounds, and will need to put on more muscle to succeed in the NHL.
"I love hockey," he said. "It's my biggest goal to play in the NHL. I'm so happy."
The 18-year-old Patrick, a Winnipeg, Manitoba, native whose father Steve and uncle James played in the NHL, held the top spot in the NHL Central Scouting Department's final rankings in April. He sustained a sport hernia last summer that hampered him during his season with Brandon of the Western Hockey League, but he finished with 20 goals and 46 points in 33 games.
"Once we gathered all the information we felt comfortable that if he was there for us we were going to take him," general manager Ron Hextall said.
Glass, another 18-year-old forward, had 32 goals and 62 assists in 69 games last season for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League.
"It's unbelievable," Glass said. "Obviously, it's an historic day, and to be part of the Vegas organization is unbelievable. Words can't describe how I feel right now."
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap