I put Nino Niederreiter sixth on my ballot for the Top 25 , which is very nearly the highest rank anyone gave him, but I freely admit I have no idea how effective he'll be once he gets to the NHL. Under 25
The Swiss "power forward" needs to use some of that power and a lot of that forward to reach his full potential as an NHLer. He'll also need to eliminate distractions and brush aside agent-amplified drama to do it as an Islander.
The Islanders did not go long on P.A. Parenteau and, I'm projecting, will at minimum not be giving Brad Boyes his dream contract. In part that is because John Tavares can make ramen noodles look good on his wing, and in part that is because the Islanders foresee some top end wings from the prospect pipeline filling that role.
Niederreiter, by rights, should be one of those wings. After a disastrous and unlucky rookie NHL season in 2011-12, he opened the 2012-13 season in the AHL performing like he really wanted to be one of those wings.
Now all that's left is a good summer of training, a preseason to earn a job, and a summer spent keeping himself (and/or his agent) out of what soccer followers call "transfer" talk.
After a season with a Bridgeport-high 28 goals and just two points shy of team leader Brock Nelson, the ball is in Niederreiter's court.
Nino in our poll:
Some comments from the voters:
Chris "I got some comments" McNally:
Oy vey, Nino! This kid has the goods on the ice and whether it's fair or not, his shine has lost it's luster a little because of his attitude. Maybe it's just a 20 year old needing to grow up, at least I hope it is. On the ice, he has the all the makings of being a big contributor as a Top 6 wing for the Islanders. His bounce back in Bridgeport this past season after a disastrous rookie season in the NHL was good to see.
Keith "GFY" Quinn:
About one more controversy from dropping out of my top 10. Had an underwhelming second half, but a great WC.
Mike of FIG Country:
This rating is based on size, strength, and the potential to be the type of player nobody ever wants to play against. Seems like he still has some growing up to do.
David and the Hanssens:
I've never been high on Nino. This season hasn't changed my impression. TRAID!
The age thing is perhaps overdone, but it's worth repeating that Nino will be just 21 this September. I'm not sure what he can ultimately be, but I'm not about to give up just yet.
25U25 Spring 2013 Countdown
8. Matt Martin
15: d Calvin de Haan
16: F Anders Lee