|He's right on track.|
Anyways, the Nino Niederreiter drama continued yesterday, and it appears that his agent is the biggest enabler in this whole mess. Mike Flannery had dinner with the Sound Tigers on Monday night, and was told by Nino that it wasn't him who requested the trade, but his agent. This appears to be backed up by Nino's agent, Andy Rufener, who gave an interview to 20 Minutes, a Swiss media outlet. In the interview, Rufener backed up Nino, taking some of the blame for the request in the process.
A few notes from the interview, which was translated by a Swiss reader at Islanders Point Blank:
-Nino's agent thinks the situation is as bad it can get for Nino Niederreiter, which is his reasoning for the trade request. In his eyes, Nino deserves a chance with the Islanders because he's a top-scorer in the AHL.
-Rufener takes sole responsibility for the trade request.
-Rufener does not believe Nino Niederreiter has any chance to succeed under the Islanders' current regime. Zero chance. This request was a cry for help, hoping that the other 29 teams would be inquiring about trade offers for the Islanders 2010 5th-overall draft choice.
-Nino's agent was also involved in the Luca Sbisa drama in Anaheim, yet he believes it was a different situation. He thought the only problem was the coach, who was to be fired anyways.
-He (Rufener) is going to give Garth Snow a battle when negotiating Nino's contract at the end of 2013-14. It all stems from him believing the Islanders will not give Niederreiter a fair chance.
Well, guess what, Mark Rufener. This whole "squabble" is pointless. Garth Snow is not going to let Nino Niederreiter go, walk, leave, whatever. The Islanders will not give in to the demands of the agent for a prospect who has 3 goals in 64 NHL games. Garth will not delay the Islanders rebuild.
It's very possible that Mark Rufener made this request just to put some pressure on the Islanders to give Nino some ice time. Nino has been playing well in the AHL, and seeing his former WHL teammates, Ryan Johansen and Sven Baertschi, get ice time with their clubs is probably a little disappointing.
It's also possible that Rufener misses NHL money. Nino Niederreiter was making over $3M on the big club last season. Now, Nino is making AHL-level salary. Suddenly, Rufener's wallet is not as heavy.
If we're going to have a contract dispute, Nino will be sitting out. It's that simple. Don't even go there, Rufener.
Regardless, it doesn't matter what Rufener says. The Islanders are acting as a normal, rebuilding franchise, no matter what their reputation is. This wouldn't happen with the Devils, or have scratched Adam Larsson through the season's first two games. It didn't happen when Tyler Seguin was scratched in Boston. It doesn't happen to the Rangers either, as they demoted Chris Kreider to fourth-line duties last night.
Prospects need time to grow, and Nino is no exception. It's reasonable to argue that Niederreiter could make this offense better, but it's also acceptable to let a player, who the Islanders grossly mishandled and heard about it last season, further his development by scoring even more goals in the AHL this season.
There's a very good chance someone gets injured on the Islanders, and the call for Nino will arrive. There's also a very good chance the Islanders open a roster spot for Nino in the coming weeks. To battle with Garth over a roster spot, Rufener, is ridiculous, selfish, and dismissed. The Islanders will not have any of it, and this will all be forgotten when Nino lights the lamp in royal blue.
This whole mes will blow over. It's a non-issue, preceded only by the Islanders reputation. Take a step back and look at the big picture. Nino isn't going anywhere, and will play a role in the Islanders rebuild.
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I'm Chris Triants, and this is my blog.
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