Ice Hockey Wiki
Nino Niederreiter
Born (1992-09-08)8 September 1992,
Chur, Switzerland
6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shoots Left
NHL team
F. teams
Minnesota Wild
New York Islanders
HC Davos
Ntl. team Flag of Switzerland.png Switzerland
NHL Draft 5th overall, 2010
New York Islanders
Playing career 2009–present

Nino Niederreiter (born 8 September 1992), nicknamed El Niño, is a Swiss ice hockey player currently playing for the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was selected fifth overall by the New York Islanders in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, making him the highest-drafted Swiss hockey player in NHL history. Niederreiter made his NHL debut with the Islanders early in the 2010–11 season before being returned to his junior club, the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL). Prior to coming over to North America Niederreiter had played in the junior system of the Swiss team HC Davos, and appeared in three playoff games for the senior club in 2010. He was traded to the Minnesota Wild on 30 June 2013 for Cal Clutterbuck and a third round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

Playing career


Unlike many Swiss hockey players, Niederreiter decided to play hockey in North American junior hockey to give him a better shot of making the National Hockey League (NHL). Past Swiss first round draft picks Luca Cereda and Michel Riesen were known in hockey circles as "Swiss misses", as they never made an impact in the NHL.[1] Niederreiter followed in the footsteps of his Swiss teammate and friend Luca Sbisa and declared himself eligible for the Canadian Hockey League Import Draft. He was drafted by the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL and enjoyed success in his rookie year.

While playing with Portland, Niederreiter was selected to play in the prestigious CHL Top Prospects Game to play for coach Bobby Orr. After scoring a fantastic "trick shot" goal in the trick shot competition during the skills competition on 20 January 2010, Niederreiter opened the scoring during the actual game the following day. He scored with 2:38 remaining in the first period on top-ranked goaltender Calvin Pickard to give Team Orr a 1–0 lead at the break. Team Cherry would eventually win by a score of 4–2.[2] In Niederreiter's first season of North American play and rookie season for the Portland, he led the Winterhawks in goals scored with 36.[3] This was also good for 18th in the entire Western Hockey League and second amongst rookies.[4] He added 24 assists, for 60 points on the season, good for fourth on the Winterhawks.[3] He recorded a further 16 points in 13 playoff games, second best on the team.[5] The WHL recognised Niederreiter by selecting him to the league's Western Conference Second All-Star Team.[6]

The NHL Central Scouting Bureau predicted that he would become just the fourth Swiss ice hockey player be drafted in the first round in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. TSN hockey analyst Bob McKenzie believed that he could become the highest drafted Swiss player in history.[7] Niederreiter was ranked 14th by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau amongst North American trained players in its midterm rankings.[8] The NHL Central Scouting Bureau ranked Niederreiter 12th in its final rankings for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.[9] Those predictions came to fruition when he was selected by the New York Islanders with the 5th pick. He is now the earliest selected Swiss-born player in draft history (Michel Riesen had been selected 14th, in 1997).[10]

Professional career

Niederreiter with the Islanders in 2010. He would play 9 games for them that season.

Niederreiter was selected fifth overall by the New York Islanders and was the first European drafted, albeit that he was North American trained. He began the 2010–2011 season at the NHL level with a three-year entry level contract. When he made his debut on 9 October 2010, he was the youngest player in the history of the Islanders,[11](Dave Chyzowski has previously been the youngest) and scored the first goal of his NHL career on 13 October 2010, against goalie Michal Neuvirth of the Washington Capitals. With the goal, Niederreiter, at the age of 18 years, 35 days became the youngest Islander and fifth youngest player of the expansion era (1967) to score an NHL goal. The only younger players to score in the NHL since expansion were Aleksander Barkov Jr. (18 years, 31 days), Grant Mulvey (18 years, 32 days), Jordan Staal (18 years, 32 days) and Patrick Marleau (18 years, 34 days).[12]

On 28 October 2010, the Islanders announced that they would return Niederreiter to the Winterhawks for further development. As he only played nine games in the NHL, Niederreiter did not use up a year on his NHL contract; had he played ten games, it would have counted as a full year.[13]

With Portland, Niederreiter enjoyed a career year with 41 goals and 29 assists for 70 points in 55 games.

Niederreiter spent the 2011–2012 NHL season as a member of the Islanders, where he was used primarily on the fourth line to gain experience with defensive veterans Marty Reasoner and Jay Pandolfo.

As a result of the 2012–13 NHL lockout, Niederreiter was assigned to the Islanders American Hockey League affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.[14] Following the conclusion of the lockout, Niederreiter was not invited to the Islanders' training camp and reportedly asked for a trade as a result. Islanders' GM Garth Snow indicated that the relationship between the player and the organization was fine, stating "All conversations with players remain private, but I will say that Nino has never told me that he's unhappy".[15]

On 30 June 2013, Nino Niederreiter was traded to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Cal Clutterbuck and the New Jersey Devils' third-round-pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.[16] In a new environment on a new team, Niederreiter excelled. He saw much more ice time and was given more opportunity then he had previously had in New York and was in the Wild's top 6 forward group throughout most of the season. With the Islanders, in 64 games Niederreiter recorded 2 goals and 1 assist. In his first full season with the Wild he improved to 14 goals and added 22 assists to that for 36 points in 81 games.

On 17 April 2014, Niederreiter played his first NHL playoff game for the Minnesota Wild vs. the Colorado Avalanche. He recorded an assist in a 5–4 OT loss to the Avalanche. In Game 7 of the series, Niederreiter had 2 goals and an assist, including the game winner in overtime to advance the Wild to the second round.[17]

On 11 September 2014, Niederreiter signed a three-year, $8 million contract extension with the Minnesota Wild.[18]

In the 2015–16 season, Niderreiter was placed on a line with Erik Haula and Jason Pominville. Despite being the third line for the Wild, it quickly became the team's most effective line, with high offensive totals even while being matched up against opponent's top lines. Niederreiter was third on the team in goals scored, behind Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle.

International play

Medal record

Nino Niederreiter
Men's Ice hockey
Competitor for Flag of Switzerland Switzerland
World Championships
Silver 2013 Sweden/Finland

Niederreiter first played in an international tournament when he took part in the 2008 IIHF World U18 Championships, held in Russia, for the Swiss national junior team. Switzerland finished eighth overall, and Niederreiter scored two points in six games. He next appeared at the 2009 edition of the tournament in the United States and recorded six points in six games, as the Swiss again finished eighth.

At the 2010 IIHF World U20 Championships, he led the Swiss team to an upset of the Russians by scoring two goals in a 3–2 victory. His first goal came in the final minute of regulation play to send the game to overtime, and followed it with the overtime winner [19] He finished with six goals and four assists, good enough for seventh in the tournament. These feats led to him being selected to the tournament all-star team.[20]

During the tournament, Niederreiter and Nazem Kadri attracted attention for Kadri's refusal to shake hands with Niederreiter after their semi-final game. Kadri did not elaborate on the specifics of what caused his refusal, but did absolve Niederreiter of using an ethnic slur, "Obviously, in big games like that, guys tend to lose their composure a bit, but I didn't take offence to anything he said. It was just that I felt like I didn't have to shake his hand."[21] Kadri later had second thoughts about his refusal, "I regret it a little bit."[22]

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2006–07 HC Davos U18 Elite Novizen 32 43 19 62 38
2007–08 HC Davos U18 Elite Novizen 32 39 26 65 62
2007–08 HC Davos U20 Elite Jr. A 5 5 1 6 4
2008–09 HC Davos U18 Elite Novizen 6 6 6 12 6
2008–09 HC Davos U20 Elite Jr. A 30 20 14 34 44
2008–09 HC Davos NLA 3 0 1 1 0
2009–10 Portland Winterhawks WHL 65 36 24 60 68 13 8 8 16 16
2010–11 New York Islanders NHL 9 1 1 2 8
2010–11 Portland Winterhawks WHL 55 41 29 70 68 21 9 18 27 30
2011–12 New York Islanders NHL 55 1 0 1 12
2011–12 Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL 6 3 1 4 4
2012–13 Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL 74 28 22 50 38
2013–14 Minnesota Wild NHL 81 14 22 36 44 13 3 3 6 8
2014–15 Minnesota Wild NHL 80 24 13 37 28 10 4 1 5 10
2015–16 Minnesota Wild NHL 82 20 23 43 36 6 1 5 6 4
2016-17 Minnesota Wild NHL 82 25 32 57 53 5 0 1 1 2
NHL totals 389 85 91 176 181 34 8 10 18 24


Year Team Event   GP G A Pts PIM
2008 Switzerland U18 6 1 1 2 2
2009 Switzerland U18 6 3 3 6 16
2010 Switzerland WJC 7 6 4 10 10
2010 Switzerland WC 4 0 0 0 4
2011 Switzerland WJC 6 2 2 4 12
2012 Switzerland WC 6 0 0 0 2
2013 Switzerland WC 10 5 3 8 2
2014 Switzerland Oly 4 0 0 0 2
2016 Switzerland WC 7 3 3 6 2
Junior totals 25 12 10 22 40
Senior totals 31 8 6 14 12

Awards and honours

Award Year
IIHF All-Star Team 2010
WHL Western Conference Second All-Star Team 2010


  1. Merk, Martin (2010-01-02). Niederreiter riding high. Retrieved on 2011-01-05.
  2. Kimelman, Adam (2010-01-19). Team Cherry wins CHL Top Prospects game, 4–2. Retrieved on 2011-01-05.
  3. 3.0 3.1 WHL (2010). 2009–2010 Portland Winterhawks Statistics. Retrieved on 2011-01-05.
  4. WHL (2010). 2009–2010 WHL Goal Leaders. Retrieved on 2011-01-05.
  5. (2010). Nino Niederreiter Prospect Card. Retrieved on 2011-01-04.
  6. LeBourdais, Dyan (2010-10-06). Niederreiter earns a shot. Retrieved on 2011-01-05.
  7. McKenzie, Bob (2010-01-11). Canada must pay attention to Niederreiter, Conz. Retrieved on 2011-01-05.
  8. NHL (2010-01-11). North American Skaters Midterm Rankings. Retrieved on 2011-01-05.
  9. NHL (2010-04-08). North American Skaters Final Rankings. Retrieved on 2011-01-05.
  10. Kimelman, Adam (2010-06-26). Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin selections start to wild first round. Retrieved on 2011-01-04.
  11. Compton, Brian (2010-10-06). Nino Niederreiter sticking with Islanders. Retrieved on 2011-01-05.
  12. NHL (2010-10-13). Niederreiter becomes youngest Islander scorer. Retrieved on 2011-01-05.
  13. Compton, Brian (2010-10-28). Islanders return Niederreiter to junior club. Retrieved on 2011-01-04.
  14. New York Islanders (2012-09-14). Islanders Assign 21 Players. Retrieved on 2012-09-16.
  15. NHL notes: Blues end Wade Redden's two-year exile
  16. Rosen, Dan (2013-06-30). Islanders send Niederreiter to Wild for Clutterbuck. Retrieved on 2013-07-01.
  17. Box Score Wild 5 Avalanche 4,
  18. Wild Agree On Three-Year Deal With Nino Niederreiter. Gone Puck Wild (2014-09-11). Retrieved on 2014-09-14.
  19. Merk, Martin (2010-01-02). Niederreiter shuts down Russia. Retrieved on 2011-01-05.
  20. IIHF (2010-01-06). 2010 IIHF World U20 Championship – All Stars. Retrieved on 2010-01-16.
  21. Beacon, Bill and Donna Spencer (2010-01-04). Canada’s Kadri stays quiet on refusal to shake Niederreiter’s hand. The Canadian Press. Retrieved on 2010-01-18.
  22. Sekeres, Matthew (2010-01-04). Kadri regrets reactions to Swiss. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved on 2010-01-18.

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Calvin de Haan
New York Islanders first round pick
Succeeded by
Brock Nelson