Nino Niederreiter (born 8 September 1992) is a Swiss professional ice hockey winger for the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was selected fifth overall by the New York Islanders in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, making him the highest-drafted Swiss hockey player in NHL history at the time (until Nico Hischier was drafted first overall in 2017). Niederreiter made his NHL debut with the Islanders early in the 2010–11 season before being returned to his junior club, the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL). Prior to coming to North America, Niederreiter had played in the junior system of the Swiss team HC Davos and appeared in three playoff games for the senior club in 2010.
Niederreiter practicing with the Minnesota Wild in 2019
8 September 1992|
|Height||6 ft 2 in (188 cm)|
|Weight||211 lb (96 kg; 15 st 1 lb)|
New York Islanders
5th overall, 2010|
New York Islanders
Unlike many Swiss hockey players, Niederreiter opted to play hockey in North American junior hockey to give him a better shot of making the National Hockey League (NHL). Past Swiss first-round draft picks Luca Cereda and Michel Riesen were known in hockey circles as "Swiss misses", as they never made an impact in the NHL. Niederreiter followed in the footsteps of his Swiss teammate and friend Luca Sbisa and declared himself eligible for the Canadian Hockey League Import Draft. He was drafted by the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL) and enjoyed success in his rookie year.
While playing with Portland, Niederreiter was selected to play in the prestigious CHL Top Prospects Game to play for coach Bobby Orr. After scoring a fantastic "trick shot" goal in the trick shot competition during the skills competition on 20 January 2010, Niederreiter opened the scoring during the actual game the following day. He scored with 2:38 remaining in the first period on top-ranked goaltender Calvin Pickard to give Team Orr a 1–0 lead at the break. Team Cherry would eventually win 4–2. In Niederreiter's first season of North American play and rookie season for the Portland, he led the Winterhawks in goals with 36. This total also ranked him 18th across the WHL and second amongst WHL rookies. He added 24 assists, for 60 points on the season, good for fourth on the Winterhawks. He recorded a further 16 points in 13 playoff games, second-best on the team. The WHL recognized Niederreiter by selecting him to the Western Conference Second All-Star Team.
The NHL Central Scouting Bureau predicted that Niederreiter would become just the fourth Swiss ice hockey player be drafted in the first round in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. TSN hockey analyst Bob McKenzie believed that he could become the highest-drafted Swiss player in history. Niederreiter was ranked 14th by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau amongst North American trained players in its midterm rankings. The NHL Central Scouting Bureau ranked Niederreiter 12th in its final rankings for the draft. Those predictions came to fruition when he was selected by the New York Islanders with the fifth overall pick. At the time, he was the highest-drafted Swiss hockey player in NHL history; he held this record until 2017, when Nico Hischier was selected first overall in 2017 by the New Jersey Devils.
New York IslandersEdit
Niederreiter was selected fifth overall by the New York Islanders and was the first European drafted (albeit North American trained). He began the 2010–11 season at the NHL level after signing a three-year, entry-level contract. In making his NHL debut on 9 October 2010, he became the youngest player in Islanders' history to appear in an NHL game (surpassing Dave Chyzowski's record). Niederreiter scored his first career NHL goal on 13 October against goaltender Michal Neuvirth of the Washington Capitals. With the goal, Niederreiter, at the age of 18 years and 35 days, became the youngest Islander and the fifth-youngest NHL player in the expansion era (post-1967) to score an NHL goal; the only younger players to score in the NHL since expansion were Aleksander Barkov (18 years, 31 days), Grant Mulvey (18 years, 32 days), Jordan Staal (18 years, 32 days) and Patrick Marleau (18 years, 34 days). On 28 October, the Islanders announced that they would return Niederreiter to the Winterhawks for further development. As he only played nine games in the NHL, Niederreiter did not use up a year on his NHL contract; had he played ten games, it would have counted as a full year.
With Portland, Niederreiter enjoyed a career year with 41 goals and 29 assists for 70 points in 55 games.
Due to the 2012–13 NHL lockout, Niederreiter was assigned to the Islanders' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Following the conclusion of the lockout, Niederreiter was not invited to the Islanders' training camp and reportedly asked for a trade as a result. Islanders' general manager Garth Snow indicated that the relationship between the player and the organization was fine, stating, "[A]ll conversations with players remain private, but I will say that Nino has never told me that he's unhappy."
On 30 June 2013, Niederreiter was traded to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Cal Clutterbuck and the New Jersey Devils' third-round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He saw much more ice time and was given more opportunity than he had previously had in New York and was in the Wild's top-six forward group throughout most of the season. With the Islanders, in 64 games Niederreiter recorded 2 goals and 1 assist. In his first full season with the Wild, he improved to 14 goals and 22 assists (36 points) in 81 games.
On 17 April 2014, Niederreiter made his Stanley Cup playoff debut in Game 1 of Minnesota first-round series against the Colorado Avalanche; he recorded an assist in the Wild's eventual 5–4 overtime loss. In Game 7 of the series, Niederreiter recorded two goals and one assist, including the game winner in overtime to advance the Wild to the second round of the playoffs.
During the 2015–16 season, Niderreiter was placed on a line with Erik Haula and Jason Pominville. Despite being the third line for the Wild, it quickly became one of the team's most effective lines with high offensive totals, even while being matched up against opponent's top lines. Niederreiter finished the regular season third in goals scored for Minnesota, behind Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle.
On 30 July 2017, Niederreiter and the Wild avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to a new five-year, $26.25 million contract worth an average annual value of $5.25 million.
Niederreiter first played in an international tournament when he took part in the 2008 IIHF World U18 Championships held in Russia for the Switzerland men's national under-18 ice hockey team. Switzerland finished eighth overall, and Niederreiter scored two points in six games. He next appeared at the 2009 edition of the tournament in the United States and recorded six points in six games as the Swiss again finished eighth.
At the 2010 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, Niederreiter led the Switzerland men's national junior ice hockey team to an upset of Russia by scoring two goals in a 3–2 victory; his first goal came in the final minute of regulation play to send the game to overtime, and his second was the overtime winner. He finished the tournament with six goals and four assists, sufficient for ranking seventh amongst all tournament skaters. He was also selected to the tournament all-star team.
During the tournament, Niederreiter and Canada's Nazem Kadri attracted attention for Kadri's refusal to shake hands with Niederreiter after their semi-final game. Kadri did not elaborate on the specifics of what caused his refusal, but did absolve Niederreiter of using an ethnic slur, saying, "Obviously, in big games like that, guys tend to lose their composure a bit, but I didn't take offence to anything he said. It was just that I felt like I didn't have to shake his hand." Kadri later had second thoughts about his refusal, saying, "I regret it a little bit."
Regular season and playoffsEdit
|2006–07||HC Davos U18||Elite Novizen||32||43||19||62||38||—||—||—||—||—|
|2007–08||HC Davos U18||Elite Novizen||32||39||26||65||62||—||—||—||—||—|
|2007–08||HC Davos U20||Elite Jr. A||5||5||1||6||4||—||—||—||—||—|
|2008–09||HC Davos U18||Elite Novizen||6||6||6||12||6||—||—||—||—||—|
|2008–09||HC Davos U20||Elite Jr. A||30||20||14||34||44||—||—||—||—||—|
|2010–11||New York Islanders||NHL||9||1||1||2||8||—||—||—||—||—|
|2011–12||New York Islanders||NHL||55||1||0||1||12||—||—||—||—||—|
|2011–12||Bridgeport Sound Tigers||AHL||6||3||1||4||4||—||—||—||—||—|
|2012–13||Bridgeport Sound Tigers||AHL||74||28||22||50||38||—||—||—||—||—|
Awards and honoursEdit
|West Second All-Star Team||2010|
|WJC All-Star Team||2010|
- Merk, Martin (2 January 2010). "Niederreiter riding high". IIHF.com. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- Kimelman, Adam (19 January 2010). "Team Cherry wins CHL Top Prospects game, 4–2". NHL.com. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- WHL (2010). "2009–2010 Portland Winterhawks Statistics". WHL.ca. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- WHL (2010). "2009–2010 WHL Goal Leaders". WHL.ca. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- NHL.com (2010). "Nino Niederreiter Prospect Card". NHL.com. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
- LeBourdais, Dyan (6 October 2010). "Niederreiter earns a shot". NewYorkIslanders.com. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- McKenzie, Bob (11 January 2010). "Canada must pay attention to Niederreiter, Conz". TSN.com. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- NHL (11 January 2010). "North American Skaters Midterm Rankings". NHL.com. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- NHL (8 April 2010). "North American Skaters Final Rankings" (PDF). NHL.com. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- Compton, Brian (6 October 2010). "Nino Niederreiter sticking with Islanders". NHL.com. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- NHL (13 October 2010). "Niederreiter becomes youngest Islander scorer". NHL.com. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- Compton, Brian (28 October 2010). "Islanders return Niederreiter to junior club". NHL.com. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
- New York Islanders (14 September 2012). "Islanders Assign 21 Players". Islanders.NHL.com. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
- NHL notes: Blues end Wade Redden's two-year exile http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/2013/01/23/20520756.html
- Rosen, Dan (30 June 2013). "Islanders send Niederreiter to Wild for Clutterbuck". NHL.com. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
- Box Score Wild 5 Avalanche 4, ESPN.com. http://scores.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=400552556
- "Wild Agree On Three-Year Deal With Nino Niederreiter". Gone Puck Wild. 11 September 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
- Pierce, Jessi (31 July 2018). "Niederreiter agrees to five-year, $26.25 million contract with Wild". NHL.com. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
- "Hurricanes acquire Niederreiter from Wild". The Sports Network. 17 January 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Merk, Martin (2 January 2010). "Niederreiter shuts down Russia". IIHF.com. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- IIHF (6 January 2010). "2010 IIHF World U20 Championship – All Stars" (PDF). IIHF.com. Retrieved 16 January 2010.
- Beacon, Bill and Donna Spencer (4 January 2010). "Canada's Kadri stays quiet on refusal to shake Niederreiter's hand". The Canadian Press. Retrieved 18 January 2010.
- Sekeres, Matthew (4 January 2010). "Kadri regrets reactions to Swiss". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 18 January 2010.