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About Last Season: Nino Niederreiter Performance Review and Grade

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Niederreiter bounced back in a big way during the 2020-21 season and provided plenty of offense for the Hurricanes.

Nashville Predators v Carolina Hurricanes - Game One Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Nino Niederreiter 2020-21 Season By The Numbers

  • Age: 28
  • NHL seasons: 9
  • Scoring: 20 goals, 14 assists, 34 points in 56 games
  • Advanced numbers: 58.78 CF%, 60.47 SCF%, 71.83 GF%, 61.16 xG%
  • Average TOI: 15:43

It’s no secret that the 2019-20 season was a season that Nino Niederreiter would have liked to forget, so he was a man on a mission heading into the 2020-21 campaign. After a season of struggling to finish chances, Niederreiter was looking to return to form and make an immediate impact. He did just that, scoring 20 goals over the course of the season and finishing with 34 points in 56 games. Niederreiter finished seventh on the team in scoring and second in goals, proving to be one of Carolina’s most impactful forwards in the middle six.

It always seemed like the 2019-20 season was a fluke for Niederreiter. He was doing everything right but the shots weren’t going in and he wasn’t getting any puck luck whatsoever. His GF% was 57.47 and his xG% was 56.88. Niederreiter improved on both stats this season and was on the ice for an impressive 51 goals for in all situations. Compare that to the 20 goals against and you have yourself a player that was flat-out dominant when he was on the ice.

Niederreiter has held the majority of the shot share since he was traded to Minnesota and he has always been a responsible two-way player. Nothing changed this season, as he and the Hurricanes were able to carry the play when he was on the ice. Niederreiter was due for some bounces this season after getting robbed for what felt like an entire season the year prior. Chance after chance was stopped and it looked as if it was getting to Niederreiter. This year, Niederreiter got the monkey off of his back and did his part to help the Hurricanes win the Central Division.

Niederreiter’s 34 points in 56 games would have put him on pace for roughly 49-50 points in a normal 82-game season. It’s clear that we won’t get the 30 points in 36 games version of Niederreiter that we saw after the trade from Minnesota, but it’s clear that Niederreiter can score 20+ goals and play in all situations for the Hurricanes. He’s an ideal middle six forward that will play in the corners, get to the front of the net and find a way to put the puck in the back of the net. You can’t ask for much more than that.

This is a goal that wouldn’t have gone in for Nino during the 2019-20 season. Now, he’s able to find the tiniest amount of space to put the puck in.

There was this goal, a huge moment in this game. The Hurricanes had blown a lead and Nino’s goal helped propel the team to a shootout victory.

It wasn’t just Nino’s goal scoring that made him a threat this season. He looked like a much more confident playmaker, as you can see in the next clip. This pass would have connected for a goal had it been almost anyone else on the Hurricanes’ roster.

Niederreiter was a force for the Hurricanes offensively. This season gave fans an idea of what he is as a player and what to expect heading into next season. Niederreiter can control play and will be on the ice for the majority of the offense, but at the end of the day, he’s only as good as his linemates. He isn’t going to wow you with individual skill or dangles but what he can do is put the puck into the net if you get it to him. Nino isn’t going to be the primary catalyst of the team’s offense and it’s why I loved seeing him on the ice with a player like Necas. Niederreiter needs a playmaker on his wing in order to be successful and Necas was able to feed Niederreiter crisp pass after crisp pass.

Niederreiter did disappear a bit at the end of the regular season, however. He was held to two points in his last seven games, both of which were goals in a 6-3 win over Chicago. While it may not mean anything for his performance next season, his spotty production towards the end of the season may cause some concern.

Niederreiter’s postseason was a bit of a disappointment, too. He scored the eventual game winning goal in game one versus Nashville and was held pointless in the next six games. Niederreiter was injured for all but one game in the second round and played a grand total of 9:16 in game six against the Predators. The Hurricanes’ offense as a whole dried up during the playoffs, and Niederreiter’s lack of production was certainly a part of that. He didn’t look to be the player that we saw during the regular season and was shut down by Nashville’s defense for five games after letting him sneak past them in game one.

Niederreiter’s 2020-21 season was largely a return to form as he provided some much-needed goal scoring into the lineup. The AAV on Niederreiter’s contract will always inflate the expectations for him, but his 2020-21 season should be celebrated. The Hurricanes were able to get some excellent play out of Niederreiter and now he has something to build off of for next season. He’ll have additional fire in his game due to it being a contract year, so he’ll be working hard to earn every penny on his next deal.

Poll

How would you grade Nino Niederreiter’s 2020-21 season?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    A - Outstanding Performance
    (40 votes)
  • 69%
    B - Above Average Performance
    (165 votes)
  • 12%
    C - Average Performance
    (30 votes)
  • 0%
    D - Below Average Performance
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    F - Significantly Below Average Performance
    (0 votes)
236 votes total Vote Now