It generally takes a few years for the dust to settle on any trade. One the New York Islander completed back in 2013 is proving to be one the Islanders may not have lost, but one which they definitely did not win.
The year was 2013, the world had just been introduced to the Harlem Shake, Lance Armstrong tells everyone what they already knew, and the Toronto Maple Leafs decided they didn’t feel like playing hockey past May 13th. But on July 1st, 2013 the New York Islanders traded fifth overall pick Nino Niederreiter.
Niederreiter was drafted fifth overall by the New York Islanders in 2010. And just over three years later we sent him to the Minnesota Wild for Cal Clutterbuck and a bunch of pucks. Actually, it was a third-round pick that year, which we used to draft Eamon McAdam.
Never heard of him? Nor have I. Turns out he was a goaltender from the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL and he’s played a single game for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this past season. Posting a 6.00 GAA and a .829 SV%.
Cal Clutterbuck has been a lynchpin for the team, playing some big minutes on the fourth line alongside Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin. Clutterbuck is a great fit in our lineup and a great player to have. But is he worth a 40-point player?
What Has Niederreiter Done?
We know the impact that Cal has had on our team and we know what McAdams hasn’t done; played in the NHL. But what about the guy we let go. What’s he been up to?
In three years with the Wild, Niederreiter has played 243 games and scored 116 points. A stark contrast to the 64 games and three points in an Islander’s sweater.
He was also the league leader in relative 5v5 Corsi for players who played at least 200 minutes. His closest competition was Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, whom Niederreiter out-matched by 0.62%.
Not bad for a player that just didn’t seem to work out with the Islanders. The situation had devolved quickly between the team and Nino.
We didn’t invite him to training camp, he filled a trade request. It was a real tit-for-tat situation. So rather than mend the relationship between the two and try to make it work with our fifth-overall draft pick, we sent him packing.
In return, we got a solid fourth liner and a bag of pucks…I mean a goaltending prospect.
To be fair there’s still time for McAdams to turn into something. He’s only 21-years old, plenty of time for him to make something of his career. Clutterbuck has been a great addition to the team, but his contributions end at fourth line duties.
The deal won’t ever pan out for the Islanders. It won’t be the death of them either. We got a great asset in Clutterbuck, but we lost an even better one in Neiderreiter.