Top Isles Prospect Nino Niederreiter Seeking Trade
According to Katie Strang of ESPN, New York Islanders prospect Nino Niederreiter is seeking a trade from the organization.
Niederreiter has currently been playing for the Isles farm team affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers after dressing for 55 games with the Islanders during the 2011-2012 season. While in the NHL, Niederreiter scored one goal and was a -29 while primarily playing on the fourth line with Jay Pandolfo and Tim Wallace (Photo Credit: Robert Kowal/Flickr).
To the contrary of last season's play, Niederreiter has arguably been the best player for the Sound Tigers this year. In 39 games played he has scored 19 goals and 17 assists for 36 points. He also leads the team with 122 shots on goal and eight power play points.
Islanders general manager Garth Snow had stated at the end of last season that playing Niederreiter in the minors last year would have been the more ideal situation than having play only fourth line minutes while in the NHL. But due to age restrictions, this was not possible for the Isles top prospect. As his stats presently indicate, playing in the minors has been very beneficial to his development.
Hence why Niederreiter's agent, according to Strang's report, is confused as to why he did not get an invitation to the Islanders training camp that lasted for a week before the start of the abbreviated 48-game season.
Strang has continued to tweet out today that Snow declined to comment on whether or not Niederreiter will be traded, but that it is still possible that he can be called up to the New York Islanders at some point this season.
The Isles GM has remained firm on his stance that playing top line minutes in the AHL is the best case scenario for the big winger. There currently is not a lot of roster space for Niederreiter with John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Matt Moulson, Brad Boyes, Michael Grabner and Frans Nielsen owning the top two lines. Therefore, having him play on this current roster over other AHL call-ups, such as David Ullstrom, Casey Cizikas and Colin McDonald, would have likely resulted in third or fourth line minutes.
Keep in mind that this is also the final year of Josh Bailey's contract, and playing him on the wing has been the plan since it worked so well at the end of last season. Determining Bailey's future with this team, if there is any, will have to come once he returns from the Injured Reserve, which only adds to the congestion in the wing position for this season (MVerminski/Twitter).
However, as fellow blogger B.D. Gallof of Hockey Independent pointed out on Twitter, it is important to note that Strang's article does not contain any direct quotes from Snow, Niederreiter or his agent.
Newsday reporter Arthur Staple quoted Snow on Twitter saying that Niederreiter has not made any direct complaints.
Could this all just be an agent trying to force an organization into calling up his client to the NHL earlier than planned?
Niederreiter has voiced his displeasure with some of the decisions that the Islanders have made for him in the past. Head coach Jack Capuano was sitting Niederreiter as a healthy scratch for a handful of games at one point last season. When fans asked him via Twitter why the coach wasn't playing him, he gave a frustrated response that indicated he had not been told as to why he was not playing.
The tweet was quickly deleted shortly after being posted.
With that being said, it is not clear as to how Niederreiter exactly feels on the whole situation. He likely is unhappy that he is not with the Islanders after having a strong first half of the season in the AHL. But seeking a trade at 20 years old with only one goal and a -29 rating on his NHL resume with a few injuries that limited him to only 55 games is a bit of a tall order at this stage of his career.
The only honest thing to say in all of this is that there is never a dull moment in Islanders country.