Matthew Norman Niskanen (born December 6, 1986) is an American professional ice hockey defenseman currently playing for the Washington Capitals 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. He won the Stanley Cup with Washington in the 2017–18 season.
Niskanen with the Capitals in 2018
December 6, 1986|
Virginia, Minnesota, U.S.
|Height||6 ft 0 in (183 cm)|
|Weight||204 lb (93 kg; 14 st 8 lb)|
|National team||United States|
28th overall, 2005|
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, and the All WCHA academic Team.
Niskanen decided to leave college and turn professional after his sophomore season at UMD. 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.
Niskanen made his NHL regular season debut against the Colorado Avalanche on October 3, 2007. 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.
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. 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.
Regular season and playoffsEdit
Awards and honorsEdit
- "NHL Entry Draft Year by Year Results". National Hockey League.
- "Niskanen selected to All WCHA First Team". UMD Bulldogs. 2006-03-30. Archived from the original on 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2010-07-20.
- "All WCHA Academic Team announced". UMD Bulldogs. 2006-04-15. Archived from the original on 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
- "Matt Niskanen to sign with Stars". Duluth News Tribune. 2007-03-20. Retrieved 2008-07-06.[dead link]
- "Penguins acquire James Neal and Matt Niskanen from Stars for Alex Goligoski". Pittsburgh Penguins. 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
- "Niskanen powers Penguins past Predators". covers.com. 2014-03-04. Retrieved 2014-03-04.
- "Capitals add two Penguins defencemen in free agency". Washington Post. 2014-07-01. Retrieved 2014-07-01.