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About Last Season: Nino Niederreiter Performance Review and Grade

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The Nino Niederreiter acquisition in January was a catalyst for a historic regular season and playoff run. Niederreiter has quickly become a key part of the Hurricanes’ future.

Jamie Kellner

Nino Niederreiter: 2018-2019 By The Numbers

  • Age: 26
  • NHL Seasons: 8
  • Games Played: 36
  • Scoring: 14 goals, 16 assists, 30 points
  • Ice Time: 18:17 all situations, 15:45 ES, 2:30 PP, 0:03 PK
  • 5 on 5 Stats: 57.96% CF, 58.33% GF
  • Contract: 3 years, $5.25 million per year

Making the Grade

If you told me a year ago that I’d be doing an About Last Season for Nino Niederreiter today, I would ask you which core defenseman was given up to acquire him. Instead, the Canes parted with a growing concern in Victor Rask. The fact that the Hurricanes didn’t sacrifice more in the Niederreiter acquisition in January is laughable, and has contributed to a tenure-defining move for Don Waddell — one that played a big part in his General Manager of the Year nomination.

Niederreiter’s impact on the team cannot be understated. He joined the locker room right around the time when things started turning around, and his extra scoring punch was pivotal during their second half success. The first thing that you notice about Nino is that his game is jam packed with skill. He’s a legitimate top six winger who has 30 goal capability. Something that isn’t immediately apparent is the edge which with he plays. He’s a big physical winger, and he will terrorize defensemen with his board work. He plays with a certain competitive edge and fire that was lacking from Rask.

There was a clear utilization issue in Minnesota over the past few seasons — he was playing only 14:37 per night under Bruce Boudreau this season, primarily on bottom six lines. In those 46 games in a Wild jersey, he tallied nine goals. Upon his arrival in Carolina, he put up six goals in his first ten games.

This really all comes down to usage. Niederreiter averaged 18:17 per game in Carolina, and played almost exclusively alongside Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen on the team’s top scoring line. He also saw significantly more time at even strength than in Minnesota, and enjoyed a slight increase in his power play time as well.

Niederreiter had been a solid possession player for all of his career, and those numbers only got better in Raleigh, which is unsurprising given Carolina’s track record in possession statistics. He was second in the team in Corsi For Percentage at 57.96% and came in at third on the roster in Scoring Chances For Percentage. He was fifth on the team in Goals For Percentage, indicating that he was on the ice for a lot more goals for than goals against. That’s exactly what you’d expect from your top line winger.

The most memorable part of Niederreiter’s short season in Carolina for me was a goal he scored in April that secured his place on the Hurricanes pantheon of playoff goals. While this particular goal didn’t actually happen in the playoffs, it was the final nail in the coffin in the third period the 81st game of the regular season against the New Jersey Devils. The goal sent the Hurricanes back to the postseason — ending the long ten year playoff drought. Fans live for moments like this, and Nino delivering one of this magnitude is a perfect storybook ending to what was an incredible first season in Raleigh.

Poll

How do you grade Nino Niederreiter’s 2018-19 season?

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    A - Outstanding performance
    (210 votes)
  • 45%
    B - Above average performance
    (183 votes)
  • 2%
    C - Average performance
    (11 votes)
  • 0%
    D - Below average performance
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    F - Significantly below average performance
    (0 votes)
405 votes total Vote Now