Niederreiter Is Tearing It Up In Bridgeport

After a rookie season that no one expected from an Islanders top prospect, Nino Niederreiter is finally getting the development he has needed in the professional ranks of hockey. (Photo Credit: MVerminski/Flickr)

After being a 40-goal scorer in the WHL, Nino became a fourth liner that saw very limited ice time that only resulted in one goal in 55 games played in the NHL. He saw injuries and even some healthy time spent in the press-box as a scratch, and was often playing with veteran penalty killer Jay Pandolfo, and career AHL'er Tim Wallace.

It seemed as if the big power-forward was potentially turning into a big bust.

Garth Snow had admitted that the ideal situation would have been to play the 19-year old in the AHL. But due to age restrictions, that was not possible. The organization also felt that he had played himself out of the Junior ranks, which he had. But rushing him to the big show without taking that major step in between was appearing as a costly mistake.

Based on Snow's comments last season about Niederreiter's placement, it seemed all but certain that he would be suiting up for their AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the start of the 2012-2013 season. With the NHL lockout working its way through November, Niederreiter has been spending plenty of time playing as the team's number one winger. And judging by how well labor discussions have been going, it seems safe to say he won't be moving up any time soon.

In eight games played with the Sound Tigers, Niederreiter leads the team with nine points. His five goals and four assists lead those respective categories as well, and he also leads the team in shots with 25. Although it is early in the season, it is important to see a player who was projected to be a top-six winger immediately regain his scoring touch after going an entire NHL season with a -29 rating and only one point on his resume.

Although I will never say that the NHL lockout benefits a hockey player, having Nino in the minors this season should do wonders for his confidence and potentially for his career in the long run. If he were to keep at this pace for the rest of the year, Niederreiter would likely be one of the top ten scoring leaders of the American Hockey League.

Playing on the Sound Tigers top unit will fine tune his skill set as a big skater with a sniper's shot. There's little reason to doubt that Niederreiter could have a major impact on the Isles top units next year if he can maintain his scoring pace for the rest of the season.

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In other news, the New York Islanders sent out a press-release today for their Hurricane Sandy relief fundraiser.

Per the New York Islanders:

UNIONDALE, NY (November 6, 2012) – The New York Islanders are holding a special event to help raise funds for area residents affected by Hurricane Sandy. On Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 12, from 2 – 8 p.m., the team will host a free, open skate at Nassau Coliseum for the general public. Throughout the event, the team will collect monetary donations, warm clothing and other non-perishable items.

“Hurricane Sandy devastated our local community and we want to do everything we can to help,” Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said. “This event will offer families in our community the chance to take a break from their recovery efforts and enjoy themselves.”

Donations are not mandatory to attend, but highly encouraged. Public skating sessions will run every hour throughout the six-hour event on the Coliseum ice and will feature Islanders Ice Girls and team mascot Sparky, the Dragon. Fans participating in any of the sessions must bring their own skates, but spectators are also welcome to enjoy the festivities. Interactive games will also be set up around the rink for younger fans to play throughout the day. Food and drinks will be available to purchase, with proceeds helping local victims.

Join employees from the New York Islanders, arena management company SMG and Coliseum concessionaire SAVOR in contributing to this worthy cause. Proceeds generated from personal donations and concessions, as well as any clothing donated, will go directly to the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts. Island Harvest will collect all non-perishable food and beverage items to distribute to Long Islanders affected by Hurricane Sandy. Items most needed include water, diapers, blankets, baby formula and canned food.

Attendees can enter at the Hempstead Turnpike Main Entrance and gain access to the building through the Coliseum Box Office. Parking is free for this event.

If anyone is interested in helping, you have an excellent place to go now that will also have something for you as well.

To everyone affected by the storm, I hope you all are safe and well. If you have not regained power, I hope it comes soon and that you all manage to stay warm somehow. I wish everyone nothing but the best of luck going forward. 

-Rob McGowan
F

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