Nino Niederreiter has been tearing it up in the AHL and stood out during recent a scrimmage at Islanders training camp.
But none of that will change his NHL fortunes, apparently.
GM Garth Snow already stated “El Nino” won’t be with the Isles when they open against the Devils on Saturday — even though Niederreiter leads Bridgeport in scoring, sits sixth in the AHL in points (36) and was one of the best players on the ice during Wednesday’s scrimmage.
Though disappointed, the 20-year-old Swiss product is taking it in stride.
“I’ve learned that there are things you cannot control and you can’t worry about those,” Niederreiter told Newsday. “I promised myself I wouldn’t get frustrated about those things this year. All I can control is what I do on the ice.”
Niederreiter biggest highlight of the scrimmage was when he used his size to muscle past Matt Carkner and roof his own rebound past Evgeni Nabokov.
At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Niederreiter has the size to become the type of power forward the Isles haven’t had in years.
“He’s doing all the right things,” coach Jack Capuano said. “Garth’s got a plan for him, on track for his development. He played hard, scored a good goal, went to the net — he’s right on track.”
It’s understandable why the Isles would want to bring Niederreiter along slowly. They’ve been burned in the past by rushing prospects (see: Bailey, Josh) and saw how much Niederreiter struggled last year, scoring just one goal in 55 games.
He says playing in the AHL has been good for him.
“My confidence is back,” he explained. “It was great playing in the AHL to start the season, and I’m going to focus on that.”