Trade winds are blowing around the NHL. This summer, in particular, trade winds have made available a handful of players that may fit the Islanders' needs more so than the players waiting for contracts in free agency. Names like Bobby Ryan, Thomas Vanek and Jonathan Bernier have been tossed around in the rumor mill. These are some of the names that the Islanders would find a greater benefit from this summer.
Of course, if the Islanders decided to go this route, it would be at a higher cost. I'm not suggesting the Islanders would have to give up the farm, but the other team involved would definitely be looking to bring back an honest return. This brings me to the question for this weekend's "Saturday Afternoon Discussion."
Would you part with Nino Niederreiter to reel in one of the big fish made available via trade?
I think everyone knows what I'm going to say. My answer is yes - it's been that way for quite some time here at Islanders Op-Timism - although, admittedly, it's not as easy of an answer as I may sometimes make it out to be.
Let's look at the facts.
Nino Niederreiter was drafted by the Islanders in the 1st round (5th-overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He dominated play in the WHL for the Portland Winterhawks, and played well, for the most part, during his first season in the AHL for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Nino scored 28 goals and added 22 assists in 74 games for the Sound Tigers during the 2012-13 season . After spending his dismal first professional season while playing on the 4th-line in the NHL, Nino proved he's better suited in a scoring role during his time in Bridgeport.
There's no denying that Nino Niederreiter has immense talent in the offensive zone. My issue with Nino, though, is that he only uses that talent when he feels like it.
Let's look at some more facts.
Nino Niederreiter scored 36 points through his first 37 games of the 2012-13, earning him a spot in the AHL All-Star game. He scored 19 goals and added 17 assists, but then, the Islanders left him off of the NHL roster when the NHL Lockout ended.
The right thing to do for Nino? Prove the Islanders wrong and force them to call him to the big club? What Nino Niederreiter did? He dragged his feet and demanded a trade.
Through the following six games after he was left off of the NHL roster, Nino Niederreiter did not record a single point. Through the following nine games in February, Nino would score three goals. Over his final 37 games (half of his AHL season), Nino Niederreiter registered one multi-point game.
Nino Niederreiter finished his second half stretch with 9 goals and 2 assists, good for 11 points through 34 games.
Admittedly, I haven't seen him play since the NHL returned, but the numbers are suggestive, are they not? It would appear Nino Niederreiter, a 20-year-old prospect who has proved NOTHING, is playing like he doesn't have to earn his spot - that it should just be handed to him.
Sure, there will be a few detractors. Some will tell me "the Islanders should have brought him up in the first place," but why? He played like S*** when he was up in the NHL, and yes, I am fully aware who he played with. Marty Reasoner and Jay Pandolfo are terrible at this point in their careers, but don't you think that Nino Niederreiter, this "prolific goal-scorer," would have done something??? He scored one goal. He wasn't ready.
And sure, he might be ready now. Honestly, I think he is ready to play in the NHL; however, the Islanders shouldn't give him a shot until he realizes he has to earn it. Nino Niederreiter has to accept that. At this point, though, why should he?
If you think he makes the team, plays well, and voila, everything is fixed, you're wrong. Nino is a restricted free agent next summer. There's no way I believe Nino and his agent don't give Garth Snow a hard time in contract talks. He's pulling stunts now, and he's only going to make life more difficult for the Islanders if he remains here.
It's frustrating. It's frustrating because I truly think Nino Niederreiter is going to score a ton of goals at the NHL level, but it's also frustrating because, at 20-years-old, Nino speaks as if he's already scored those goals. At the NHL level, he has scored two. He has 2 goals in 64 games!
So, if the Islanders were to entice a team for one of their available star players, wouldn't it make sense to add Nino Niederreiter in the deal? If the Islanders could add a proven asset to take Nino's spot, would it really make a difference? I mean, of course it depends what else has to be included in a deal, but I would dangle Nino Niederreiter as a centerpiece in a package.
Would you part with Nino Niederreiter?
I'm Chris Triants, and this is my blog.
Let's go Islanders!