25-Year-Old Right Wing – Minnesota Wild
Nino Niederreiter Contract Information:
Signed a five-year, $26.25 million contract extension with the Wild in July 2017.
Niederreiter has been placed on injured reserve with a high-ankle sprain and is expected to miss a minimum of three weeks.
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Age is determined on October 1st of each season.No Yes
Nino Niederreiter: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Since washing out of New York thanks to his issues with management, El Nino’s spent three mostly calm and healthy years in the Wild lineup, steadily improving his stats without living up to the No. 5 overall pick the Isles spent on him in 2010. Last year’s career-best 43 points helped owners in deeper leagues, but we’re still waiting for that next step as the Swiss winger enters his age-24 season. At 6-foot-2, 211 pounds, Niederreiter isn’t afraid to dish out hits, but he needs to shoot more; he’s never even averaged two shots per game, but did set a new career mark last year with 159 pucks on net. If he can continue that positive trend, a scoring spike could be on the horizon, as he’ll enjoy steady minutes on Minnesota’s second line.
A top-five pick by the Islanders in 2010, Niederreiter sputtered in limited playing time while being shuffled between Long Island and AHL Bridgeport during his time in the organization. On a shocking draft-day trade in 2013, he was moved to Minnesota for fan favorite Cal Clutterbuck, and since that point, Niederreiter has become a fixture in the Wild lineup, producing timely goals while skating mostly on the club's second or third line. Last season, Niederreiter had his best year to date, potting 24 goals -- good for second on the team -- while adding 13 assists. At 6-foot-2 and over 200 pounds, Niederreiter isn’t quite the bruiser his body type might suggest he could be, though he’s certainly not afraid to throw his weight around. Even if his 16.1 shooting percentage from last season regresses in 2015-16, Niederreiter is still developing into a strong presence on the wing and is worth a middle-to-late-round target for those fantasy players mining for upside.
Niederreiter had the breakout campaign the Wild had been counting on last season, recording 14 goals, 22 assists, 44 penalty minutes and 143 shots. El Nino is going to get more responsibility this season -- he and Charlie Coyle will vie for the right side on the second line -- and there's every reason to believe we will see those numbers climb. In fact, he probably has the inside track because he's a little more one-dimensional than Coyle, who can probably adjust better to the defensive responsibilities of a third-line role. Don't expect an explosion and a 30-goal season, but you can expect a 40-point campaign. Next season's output will be the leap point.
Niederreiter, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, is coming off a season in which he scored 28 goals and 50 points for AHL Bridgeport, but questionably wasn't called up to the NHL by the Isles. Part of the problem may have been issues with the Islanders' management, which likely also spurred a trade to Minnesota for Cal Clutterbuck. The 20-year-old now gets the fresh start he so desired and should get his chance to win a spot on a top three line with the Wild, One word: sleeper.
Niederreiter has two goals in his young NHL career, all 64 games of it, but has the talent to do more. The whispers are certainly getting louder and louder that he may be a first round bust, especially if he doesn't produce more offensively this season. An underlying problem may be that the Isles don't know where to play him, constantly shuffling him between the second, third and fourth lines. Niederreiter also complained about a lack of communication between the coaching staff and himself as well, but these are probably just frustrations of a young talent not playing up to expectations. Niederreiter is still considered a prospect at the age of 20, but the Isles are hoping to see an improvement on his minus-29 from last year as well as a few more goals.
Niederreiter was the Isles' first-round pick in 2010, and he played nine games with the team last season before they sent him back to his junior team for more experience. It proved to be the correct move as Niederreiter scored 36 goals and 61 points in 49 games. It would be an upset if he didn't begin this season with the Islanders, so expect to see him the third line to start the new campaign. He could be moved up once his play warrants such a promotion.
Niederreiter is yet another first round pick that the Islanders may plug into their roster this season. The Isles passed over a number of top defensemen to select "El Nino" in this past June's draft and he already has NHL speed and the kind of quick release that scouts rave about. The Islanders haven't been afraid to thrust their first round picks into the lineup right away so a strong camp could see Niederreiter lining up next to John Tavares in October.