The power forward from the LAN line: Nino Niederreiter Jets Nation year in review

Photo credit:© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Baldwin
1 month ago
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It’s time to talk about one of the most successful Swiss hockey players of this generation: Nino Niederreiter. Welcome back to another edition of the Jets Nation year in review series. I’m getting down to the last 8 or so players left in this series where I look at the 2023-24 season of all of your main roster players from the Winnipeg Jets. Yesterday I covered Laurent Brossoit and Vladislav Namestnikov, and now it’s time to cover another Jets player whose last name is always difficult to remember how to spell, it’s Nino Niederreiter.
The 31-year old from Chur, Switzerland is a former 1st round, 5th overall pick in the 2010 NHL entry draft by the New York Islanders. As I mentioned, Niederreiter is not the easiest last name to remember, and in this article from 2016 you can learn a bit about how it was tough for Niederreiter to tell others how to spell it when doing paperwork when he came to America for hockey. Anyways, Niederreiter had himself an overall pretty successful year with the Winnipeg Jets this season. In 77 games, he scored 18 goals and added 16 assists for a solid 34 points. In the playoffs, Niederreiter wasn’t too much of a factor, only collecting 2 assists in the 5 game 1st round series loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
Niederreiter has had an interesting career path thus far. Some argued that he has not lived up to his 5th overall potential, but part of that could be that he was rushed into the NHL just a year after being drafted, joining the Islanders right after his 2nd season with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. His 1st full NHL season was not good at all, only scoring 1 goal for his only point in 55 games played. After a full season in the AHL with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers where he scored 28 goals and 22 assists, he was officially ready for the NHL, and his career started going well the following season with the Minnesota Wild. After 6 seasons with the Wild, 4 seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes, and last season split between the Nashville Predators and the Winnipeg Jets, Niederreiter has settled in with the Jets this season.
This season, Niederreiter proved that he was a reliable two-way power forward on the Jets 3rd line with Adam Lowry and Mason Appleton. The trio was one of the lines that was very often paired together, and as they gained chemistry their line succeeded more as the season continued. Niederreiter only missed 5 games this season, but narrowly avoided a major injury after suffering a leg laceration in mid-April. The Swiss forward has found consistency in his game over the last few seasons, and he’s a solid skater that knows how to get to those high-traffic areas on offence. Not to forget, but Niederreiter has been one of the faces of Swiss hockey this generation with other Swiss stars such as Nico Hischier and Roman Josi.
Niederreiter was in the 2nd year of a 2 year, 8 million dollar deal with the Jets, but in December he signed a 3 year, 12 million dollar extension with the Jets. The 31-year old would have been a free agent this off-season, but the Jets felt that it would be best to keep Niederreiter around for a few more years. The man they sometimes call “El Nino” was acquired for a 2nd round pick in this year’s NHL entry draft, which is a price that also raises the chances of a team wanting to keep a player around longer to make the deal worth it in the long run.
Overall, Niederreiter is a veteran, typical power forward who the Jets are glad to have extended past this season. The chemistry with his usual linemates of Adam Lowry and Mason Appleton will only improve next season, and Niederreiter will be responsible for creating chances and scoring goals among his other regular duties on the team. It might have gone unnoticed to some, but Niederreiter was also part of the Jets’ improved defense this season, helping them gain that reputation of being a more defensive-minded team throughout the season.
Next season, I’d expect Niederreiter to be motivated by his contract extension and to have another solid season with the Jets. If the LAN (Lowry, Appleton, Niederreiter) line is reunited, I could see Niederreiter pushing for another 20 goal, 40 point season. Niederreiter will be an important piece of the Jets forward group next season, and should be a solid contributor to helping them win some games in the 2024-25 season.


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