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Islanders Bits: Assessing Nino; Garth Snow on Goalies, Toughness

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Tell us Frans is your favorite, and nobody gets hurt.
Tell us Frans is your favorite, and nobody gets hurt.

We brought up Nino Niederreiter on our Top 25 Islanders Under 25 list last night without going into a recent look at NHL Numbers that parsed Niederreiter's unique (in so many ways) rookie season.

That glance almost bears its own post here, but it's a good look at comparables from shots, minutes, and that historic one-point season. (Just 19 player seasons have included 55 games with only one point.) Some yin and yang of it:

Nino unfortunately sits with the Rico Fata's and Vaclav Nedorost's of the world point production-wise ... [but] The company Niederreiter kept in the shot department is much more consistent with what we would expect from a talent of his caliber.

On that note, Garth Snow voiced his now-familiar thoughts on Nino's season, as posted at Puck Buddys in a recap of highlights from last month's season ticket holder meeting:

"Though ideally, [Nino] would have spent the season in Bridgeport, it was good for him in the long term to struggle at this level and learn what he can’t get away with, rather than dominate another year in junior."

Snow pointed out THIS year, the AHL is an option.

You'll find other quotes of interest in that post, including the possibility of dealing from the prospect pool for another offensive center or top-4 defenseman (granted, easier said than done, as leveraging excess cap space has proven).

For argument's sake on the debatable "dominated in junior" point. There is question whether he was "dominating" or whether his teammates like Ryan Johansen were helping set the table. But if you do see a physical specimen taking "short cuts" thanks to his size advantage over fellow juniors, it is worth questioning whether you want another year of him doing that. Ah, a timeless debate.

Anyway, several other topics captured for discussion there, including the goalies (talk of Kevin Poulin, Anders Nilsson and even Mikko Koskinen as Evgeni Nabokov holds the fort for another year).

And then there was this, which restarts an age-old debate but which we might as well get out there. When someone asked Why U No GRITZ, the reported response from Snow (emphasis mine) was:

"Tell Matt Martin, the guy who led the league in hits by a wide margin and will fight anyone, this team doesn’t have toughness. I asked our leaders every now and then, if they felt they were being roughed up and wanted Trev (Gillies) or someone else from the Bridge to clean that up. They declined every time. Would you like a 4th liner who can contribute in all facets who has the capability to handle that if the situation arises? Absolutely. We’d welcome that guy. The game is too fast now for a one dimensional enforcer...."

Interesting about the "declined every time." Ironically I would bet Martin would like a little help in the toughness department -- but I'd say in the form of the guys who are already there.

Of course the point about the "game is too fast now for a one-dimensonal enforcer" is not news and is, frankly, reality that even a lot of fight fans accept. The debate then comes in how useful, or rather how skilled other, ahem, fan favorites could be in that role.

It's kind of that elusive quality in that you need a guy talented enough to play at the NHL level yet also a guy who ... didn't resort to physicality because he wasn't talented enough to play at the NHL level. Martin appears to thread that needle. Might Mike Halmo one day? You don't know, but you try those while waiting for a Milan Lucic to fall from the sky.

Sticking with the Islanders:

General Hockey

Finally, this is not hockey-related and mostly not sports-related, but if you like offbeat writing and humor, you might enjoy Progressive Boink, which has relaunched on SB Nation. (One of the writers, Jon Bois, is a longtime writer of hilarity at SB Nation.) Lots of off-kilter stuff there, but this audience might enjoy "the stories behind" that infamous GIF of some Yankee fan tools during the 2010 ALCS.