Half a dozen games into the Nino Niederreiter experiment in Long Island has yielded little personal success for the highest drafted Swiss-born player of all-time.
One point in just over an hours work in six games has many wondering if keeping Niederreiter in New York is a justified move by general manager Garth Snow.
Granted, the World Junior all-star is eighth in ice time among forwards for the Islanders, but one can’t help but think his development may be better served with the Portland Winterhawks, who are 8-2-0-1 and sit a top the WHL’s US Division. The return of ‘El’ Nino would go a long way to a league championship and Memorial Cup berth for the club that also features Ryan Johansen, selected one spot ahead of Niederreiter in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
That’s not to say the Islanders will ruin Niederreiter by keeping him up. It certainly hasn’t hurt current scorer Josh Bailey, inserted into the Long Island lineup immediately after being drafted.
Bailey, taken in the first round, ninth overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, had just two points in his first six professional games, averaging well over 14 minutes per game. He finished with just 25 points that season.
But John Tavares, 2009’s first overall pick, came out guns blazing to start his NHL career just months after his draft day. With three goals and seven points in six games, the former Oshawa General and London Knight had pundits proclaiming Tavares the second coming of Sidney Crosby. Tavares eventually finished with 24 goals and 54 points, the team lead.
A major difference between Tavares’ immediate successes and the similar struggles of Bailey now bestowed on Niederreiter is opportunity. Both Bailey and Niederreiter averaged third line minutes in their efforts to solidify themselves as rookies. Tavares was given a significantly larger role.
The end result of Niederreiter’s stay may come down to just that, the end result.
Through six games, the Islanders currently sit in first place in the Atlantic Division. Should their hot start not be an aberration the club wont tinker with player personnel, allowing the Swiss sensation an extended stay.
Aaron Vickers is the managing editor of Future Considerations and can be found on Twitter. For all the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed, on YouTube and on Facebook!