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Matthew Norman Niskanen (born December 6, 1986) is an American professional ice hockey defenseman currently playing for the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was drafted by the Dallas Stars in the first round, 28th overall, in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Niskanen won the Stanley Cup in 2018 with the Washington Capitals.

Matt Niskanen
Matt Niskanen 2018-04-29.jpg
Niskanen with the Capitals in 2018
Born (1986-12-06) December 6, 1986 (age 32)
Virginia, Minnesota, U.S.
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 204 lb (93 kg; 14 st 8 lb)
Position Defense
Shoots Right
NHL team
Former teams
Philadelphia Flyers
Dallas Stars
Pittsburgh Penguins
Washington Capitals
National team  United States
NHL Draft 28th overall, 2005
Dallas Stars[1]
Playing career 2007–present

Contents

Playing careerEdit

AmateurEdit

Niskanen attended the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). At the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, he was selected in the first round, 28th overall, by the Dallas Stars.

In 2005–06, his freshman season for the Bulldogs men's ice hockey team, he recorded 14 points in 38 games. Before that, Niskanen played for the Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl boys' hockey team and helped bring the Blue Devils to their first state high school tournament appearance in school history. During 2006–07, his sophomore season at UMD, he scored 9 goals and 22 assists in 39 games. Niskanen was named to the 2006–07 All WCHA First Team,[2] and the All WCHA academic Team.[3]

Niskanen decided to leave college and turn professional after his sophomore season at UMD.[4] On March 19, 2007, he signed an amateur tryout contract with the Iowa Stars—the Dallas Stars' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate at the time—for the remainder of the 2006–07 season. He later signed a three-year NHL contract with the Dallas Stars which began in 2007–08. He subsequently made the Stars' 2007–08 NHL roster out of training camp.

ProfessionalEdit

Niskanen made his NHL regular season debut against the Colorado Avalanche on October 3, 2007 to open the 2007–08 season. He recorded his first NHL points against the Boston Bruins two nights later with two assists. His first NHL goal came on October 29, 2007, against the San Jose Sharks. Niskanen had an excellent rookie start with the Stars, leading the team in plus/minus at mid-season, which resulted in his being invited to the Young Stars game during the 2008 NHL All-Star weekend.

On February 21, 2011, Niskanen was traded (along with teammate James Neal) to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for defenseman Alex Goligoski.[5]

During the 2013–14 season, on March 4, 2014, Niskanen had his first multi-goal game with a two-goal effort in a 3–1 win over the Nashville Predators away at the Bridgestone Arena.[6] In the final year of his contract with the Penguins and approaching free agency, Niskanen finished the season establishing new career highs in goals (10) and assists (36) for 46 points.

On July 1, 2014, Niskanen signed a seven-year, $40.25 million contract as a free agent with the Washington Capitals.[7]

In the 2017–18 season, Niskanen continued to play top-four pairing minutes with the Capitals, posting 7 goals and 29 points in 68 games. He recorded nine points and appeared in all 24 games of the playoffs while logged over 25 minutes of ice time to help the Washington Capitals claim their first Stanley Cup.

Returning for his 12th season in the NHL in 2018–19, Niskanen contributed with 8 goals and 17 assists for 25 points in 80 regular season games for the Capitals. He posted 2 assists in 7 playoff games, unable to help the Capital defend the Cup in a first-round defeat to the Carolina Hurricanes.

On June 14, 2019, with two-years still remaining on his contract, Niskanen was traded by the Capitals to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for defenceman Radko Gudas.[8]

Career statisticsEdit

 
Niskanen with the Stars.

Regular season and playoffsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2005–06 Minnesota Duluth WCHA 38 1 13 14 40
2006–07 Minnesota Duluth WCHA 39 9 22 31 42
2006–07 Iowa Stars AHL 13 0 3 3 6 12 2 5 7 10
2007–08 Dallas Stars NHL 78 7 19 26 36 16 0 3 3 10
2008–09 Dallas Stars NHL 80 6 29 35 52
2009–10 Dallas Stars NHL 74 3 12 15 18
2010–11 Dallas Stars NHL 45 0 6 6 30
2010–11 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 18 1 3 4 20 7 0 1 1 0
2011–12 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 75 4 17 21 47 4 1 2 3 6
2012–13 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 40 4 10 14 12 15 0 2 2 11
2013–14 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 81 10 36 46 51 13 2 7 9 8
2014–15 Washington Capitals NHL 82 4 27 31 47 14 0 4 4 0
2015–16 Washington Capitals NHL 82 5 27 32 38 12 0 3 3 6
2016–17 Washington Capitals NHL 78 5 34 39 32 13 1 3 4 19
2017–18 Washington Capitals NHL 68 7 22 29 36 24 1 8 9 8
2018–19 Washington Capitals NHL 80 8 17 25 41 7 0 2 2 0
NHL totals 881 64 259 323 460 125 5 35 40 68

InternationalEdit

Year Team Event Result   GP G A Pts PIM
2006 United States WJC 4th 7 0 0 0 6
2009 United States WC 4th 9 1 2 3 2
2016 United States WCH 7th 3 0 0 0 0
Junior totals 7 0 0 0 6
Senior totals 12 1 2 3 2

Awards and honorsEdit

Award Year
College
All-WCHA First Team 2007
NHL
NHL YoungStars Game 2008
Stanley Cup (Washington Capitals) 2018 [9]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "NHL Entry Draft Year by Year Results". National Hockey League.
  2. ^ "Niskanen selected to All WCHA First Team". UMD Bulldogs. 2006-03-30. Archived from the original on 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2010-07-20.
  3. ^ "All WCHA Academic Team announced". UMD Bulldogs. 2006-04-15. Archived from the original on 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  4. ^ "Matt Niskanen to sign with Stars". Duluth News Tribune. 2007-03-20. Retrieved 2008-07-06.[dead link]
  5. ^ "Penguins acquire James Neal and Matt Niskanen from Stars for Alex Goligoski". Pittsburgh Penguins. 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  6. ^ "Niskanen powers Penguins past Predators". covers.com. 2014-03-04. Retrieved 2014-03-04.
  7. ^ "Capitals add two Penguins defencemen in free agency". Washington Post. 2014-07-01. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  8. ^ "Flyers acquire Matt Niskanen from Capitals in exchange for Radko Gudas". Philadelphia Flyers. June 14, 2019. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  9. ^ "The Washington Capitals, after years of frustration, win the Stanley Cup". The New York Times. 2018-06-07. Retrieved 2018-06-07.

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Mark Fistric
Dallas Stars first round draft pick
2005
Succeeded by
Ivan Vishnevskiy