27-Year-Old Defenseman – Pittsburgh Penguins
Matt Niskanen Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $4.6 million deal with Pittsburgh in June of 2012.
Niskanen is expected to play with Kris Letang on Monday with Rob Scuderi sidelined, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
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|2013-14 Proj||26||PIT||78||Subscribe now to see our 2013-14 projections for Matt Niskanen|
Age is determined on October 1st of each season.
|Dec 7||at BOS||0||2||2||0||0||0||2||0||3||0.0||5||2||25:44||7:17|
|Dec 3||at NYI||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.0||3||2||22:08||0:23|
|Nov 30||at FLA||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0.0||1||0||18:19||0:00|
|Nov 29||at TB||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0.0||0||1||17:41||0:51|
|Nov 25||at BOS||0||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||1||0.0||3||0||15:23||0:34|
|Nov 23||at MON||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||1||0.0||2||1||18:38||0:50|
|Nov 20||at WAS||0||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||1||0.0||2||1||14:59||0:00|
|Nov 16||at NJ||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0.0||0||0||14:12||1:22|
|Nov 9||at STL||0||0||0||-2||0||0||0||0||1||0.0||3||2||22:59||0:44|
|Nov 6||at NYR||0||0||0||-2||0||0||0||0||2||0.0||0||1||20:39||4:27|
|Nov 2||at CLS||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||1||20:11||0:51|
|Oct 28||at CAR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0.0||0||1||19:53||2:20|
|Oct 26||at TOR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.0||1||0||18:12||0:45|
|View Matt Niskanen's Full Game Log|
|Oct 17||at PHI||0||1||1||2||2||0||0||0||6||0.0||3||0||19:13||5:29|
|Oct 12||at TB||1||1||2||1||0||1||0||0||2||50.0||3||0||19:27||4:44|
|Oct 11||at FLA||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||4||0.0||2||0||20:41||1:01|
Matt Niskanen: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Pittsburgh thought enough of Niskanen to offer him a two-year, $4.6 million deal in the offseason, which he readily accepted. The defender rebounded from a weak 2010-11 showing with a consistent game nightly last season. His counting stats were nothing special -- four goals and 21 points in 75 games -- but he'll see plenty of playing time as a no. 4 or 5 defenseman. He scored 35 points in his sophomore season with Dallas in 2008-09, so the upside of a 35-40 point season is possible, especially with a couple years of experience in Pittsburgh's defensive system under his belt.
Niskanen was considered a throw-in as part of the Alex Goligoski-James Neal trade, and he played like one as the season went along. Niskanen, a former first-round pick, is scheduled to make $1.5 million in 2011-12. It wouldn't be surprising to see the Pens move him at some point, as his defensive shortcomings became apparent with each passing game in Pittsburgh. He compiled 35 points for the Stars in 2008-09, so the potential for offense is there. Still, his four-point (1,3) production in 18 games for the Pens might not be enough to warrant his pay in 2011-12.
Niskanen had a second straight disappointing season (3 G, 12 A, minus-15) after a promising rookie campaign back in 2007-08. The absence of Sergei Zubov the past two seasons seems to have impacted Niskanen the most, as there's virtually no confidence left in the youngster. A change of scenery may be required because he was just as invisible most nights under new coach Marc Crawford, as he was in Dave Tippet's system the year before.
Niskanen led the Dallas blue line in scoring, albeit with a pretty pedestrian 6-29-35 line. He'll continue to see time on one of the two power play units for the Stars, though Dallas may opt for a forward (Brad Richards or Mike Modano) on one of the two points at times. He's had two decent seasons in his young career, and this could be the year Niskanen steps up his play another notch and approaches 50 points.
Niskanen had a fine rookie season with 26 points in 78 games, being paired with Sergei Zubov while Zubov was healthy. His puck-moving skills could land him on the top power play unit if Dallas doesn't load up with Brad Richards or Mike Modano on the point alongside Zubov. He doesn't posses a heavy shot but could be a nice source of assists from the back end.
Niskanen jumped from 14 points in his freshman season at the University of Minnesota-Duluth to 31 points in his sophomore season. Once his college season ended, Niskanen joined Iowa of the AHL. Dallas envisions him as a future PP quarterback, but it will likely be a year or two before he becomes an everyday NHL player.
Will play for the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2006-07.
Niskanen may very well be the best athlete in the 2005 NHL draft class. He is a two-sport star (quarterback) who also plays baseball (pitcher and infield) pretty darned well. He's smart and fast (think wide receiver kind of speed) and hockey is his game. He was a Mr. Hockey finalist (Minnesota high school honor) and on the All-State first team in 2004-2005. He's poised beyond his years, probably from taking so many snaps from behind center. Calm, cool, collected and headed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for 2005-2006.