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Niederreiter continues to impress, but won’t start season with Isles

Jan 17, 2013, 11:12 AM EDT

New York Islanders Blue v White Game Getty Images

Nino Niederreiter has been tearing it up in the AHL and stood out during recent a scrimmage at Islanders training camp.

But none of that will change his NHL fortunes, apparently.

GM Garth Snow already stated “El Nino” won’t be with the Isles when they open against the Devils on Saturday — even though Niederreiter leads Bridgeport in scoring, sits sixth in the AHL in points (36) and was one of the best players on the ice during Wednesday’s scrimmage.

Though disappointed, the 20-year-old Swiss product is taking it in stride.

“I’ve learned that there are things you cannot control and you can’t worry about those,” Niederreiter told Newsday. “I promised myself I wouldn’t get frustrated about those things this year. All I can control is what I do on the ice.”

Niederreiter biggest highlight of the scrimmage was when he used his size to muscle past Matt Carkner and roof his own rebound past Evgeni Nabokov.

At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Niederreiter has the size to become the type of power forward the Isles haven’t had in years.

“He’s doing all the right things,” coach Jack Capuano said. “Garth’s got a plan for him, on track for his development. He played hard, scored a good goal, went to the net — he’s right on track.”

It’s understandable why the Isles would want to bring Niederreiter along slowly. They’ve been burned in the past by rushing prospects (see: Bailey, Josh) and saw how much Niederreiter struggled last year, scoring just one goal in 55 games.

He says playing in the AHL has been good for him.

“My confidence is back,” he explained. “It was great playing in the AHL to start the season, and I’m going to focus on that.”

  1. islesjb - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    The reason he struggles so much last year is because they had him buried on the 4th line playing 9 minutes a game with friggin Jay Pandolfo and Marty Reasoner. Get him some top-six minutes and see what happens.

    • gettingpwned - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:31 PM

      EXACTLY useless minutes with no other skilled players they wasted him last year. might as well keep him and strome in the AHL if they aren’t going to get top 6 ice time. and i want to see strome in the middle of that second line. sorry frans.

      • islesjb - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:19 PM

        Unfortunately I don’t think Strome is eligible for the AHL so he’ll have to go back to the OHL (or one those other leagues).

        With Strome they might just not have wanted to burn a year of his ELC on a shortened season where they have other, more seasoned options. Nino I think may be called up at some point

  2. bcisleman - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    Isles will presumably have Matt, JT, Ox, Grabs, Boyes and either Stromer or Nielsen for top 6 starting the season. Depending on their health and quality of play, Nino may well see some serious NHL TOI this season. Eventually he will compete with Ox for top line PF. If he and Hickey play well enough, Garth might be in a position to trade Visnovsky and Boyes even if the team is contending by the April 4th deadline.

  3. gooze930 - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    This is why Garth Snow is a joke.

    • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:36 PM

      How the HELL does this get a single thumbs down?
      2nd worst GM in the NHL without any doubt

    • jl9830 - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:23 PM

      So easy to tell which commenters simply don’t pay attention to reality and then comment on it.

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:25 PM

        Ya ones that doesn’t think Snow is hot garbage are fools

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        I guess Islander fans love draft picks that rarely pan out and complete failure at even coming close to building a winner. Just as long as Snow calls up AHL goons to embarrass the league and the franchise.

      • bcisleman - Jan 17, 2013 at 7:43 PM

        Actually Islander fans who understand the game and how to build a winner with next to no quality assets in the system–which was the situation Snow inherited–realize what a good job he has done rebuilding this team. Not our fault you are clueless.

  4. hockeywithdrawal - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Maybe this is all just a way of saying that Niederreiter has a two-way contract and the other roster spots are filled with those who don’t?

  5. misterchainbluelightning - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    Short season, any team can make the playoffs with a hot start and the Islanders would rather pass up a shot at this by not rolling with one of their hotter players and see if they might get off pull it off?

    I hope they don’t end up picking 1 or 2 in the draft.

    • jl9830 - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:25 PM

      No, any team can’t make the playoffs with a hot start.

      He clearly was overwhelmed in the NHL last season; the Isles have clearly decided to take it slow with the kids. I don’t see any problem with that.

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:22 PM

        Holy small sample size batman
        But part of the second example showed that the Quebec Nordique went from no playoffs, to #1 seed in the short season, which completely confirms that anything can happen, so thank you?

      • bcisleman - Jan 17, 2013 at 7:45 PM

        I’m guessing that him and Donovan are on top of the list for callups in the event of injury.

  6. pooinyourface - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Snow is a genious in the making. Certain players have one way contracts and cant be sent down without going through waivers. Nino is gaining confidence back in a league he excells in and has a two way contract learn the rules!

  7. bcisleman - Jan 18, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    “At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Niederreiter has the size to become the type of power forward the Isles haven’t had in years.”

    It occurs to me that Mike may be dropped from Kyle Okposo’s Holiday Greeting card list.

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