Nino Niederreiter
Nino Niederreiter
27-Year-Old Right WingRW
Carolina Hurricanes
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Niederreiter rediscovered his game after a trade-deadline move from Minnesota to Carolina last season; he scored 14 goals and 30 points in 36 games with the Hurricanes after mustering only nine goals and 23 points in 46 appearances with the Wild. All told, it was Niederreiter's fourth season with 20-plus goals in the past five, and the one exception was the 2017-18 campaign, in which he missed 19 games and still came up only two goals short of that mark. The winger has only cracked double-digit power-play points twice, however, making him more of a high-floor late option than a guy worth reaching for early. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a five-year, $26.25 million contract extension with the Wild in July 2017.
Struggling to contribute
RWCarolina Hurricanes
November 10, 2019
Niederreiter extended his current scoreless drought to four games Saturday against the Senators. He saw ice time of 13:31 and finished with a minus-2 rating and just a single shot on goal.
After finishing last season with a combined 53 points with the Canes and Wild last year, El Nino has certainly endured a tough start to the season. He now has just six points in 17 games (2G, 4A) and has been held off the scoresheet in 12 of those contests. For now, Niederreiter continues to skate on the Canes' second line, but with the team's recent hot start fading in the rearview mirror -- they have now lost four straight -- coach Rod Brind'Amour might be inclined to shuffle his lines in order to spark a little chemistry. Keep an eye on Niederreiter's ice time and linemates, and be prepared to bench him if his struggles continue.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Now 25 years old, Niederreiter has never really lived up to his prospect pedigree as the fifth overall pick in 2010. Injuries, including a lower-body issue that cost him most of January, limited him to 63 games, and as a result Niederreiter posted his lowest scoring totals in four years. When healthy, he still possesses the speed to put defenders on their heels, but he's learned to tone down his feisty side over the years -- even if he'd played a full 82 games, his streak of seasons with triple-digit hits would have been snapped. The Wild's talent on the wing keeps him stuck on the second or third line most nights, and while there's still time for Niederreiter to have a true breakout campaign, he might need some injuries ahead of him on the depth chart to really get his chance.
Niederreiter’s blindingly fast and plays a physical game, which has led to three consecutive 20-goal campaigns -- including setting career bests with 25 markers and 57 points last season -- a particularly impressive achievement when you consider that he’s never cracked 16 minutes of average ice time in a season. However, after finishing third on the Wild in goals and fourth in points this past season, then signing a five-year contract extension, he may get the opportunity to enjoy a bigger chunk of minutes in 2017-18. To do that, he'll need to continue carving minutes away from Zach Parise, who’s ahead of El Nino on the depth chart for now, but seems to be declining thanks to age and injuries. Much of the Swiss winger’s improvement last season came on the power play, where he saw a modest increase in ice time (2:00, up from 1:53) and a huge leap in production (nearly tripling the previous campaign's five points to 14). He’s also tightened up his defensive game to the point of near-elite status while missing just three games in the past four seasons, making Niederreiter one of the most durable, well-rounded -- and yet still underrated -- players in the NHL.
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.
More Fantasy News
Finally lights lamp
RWCarolina Hurricanes
October 26, 2019
Niederreiter scored his first goal of the season and added a power-play assist in Saturday's 4-0 win over the Blackhawks.
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Two helpers Friday
RWCarolina Hurricanes
October 11, 2019
Niederreiter registered a pair of assists and four shots on goal in Friday's 5-2 win over the Islanders.
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Slow start to season
RWCarolina Hurricanes
October 9, 2019
Niederreiter broke a three-game pointless drought to start the season with his first assist in Tuesday's 6-3 win over the Panthers.
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Joining Team Switzerland
RWCarolina Hurricanes
May 17, 2019
Niederreiter has been added to Team Switzerland's roster for the IIHF World Hockey Championship in Slovakia.
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Chips in helper
RWCarolina Hurricanes
May 3, 2019
Niederreiter registered an assist, two PIM and two blocked shots in Friday's 5-2 win over the Islanders in Game 4.
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