The Minnesota Wild quietly made one of the more potentially impactful moves of the 2013 offseason, in moving free agent forward Cal Clutterbuck to the New York Islanders in exchange for unhappy forward Nino Niederreiter. It’s a move that could pay major dividends for the Wild, if Niederreiter can realize his potential.
Niederreiter was a fifth overall pick of the Islanders back in 2010, meaning he already comes with a pretty large billing to live up to. He was unable to do so in New York, but of course he also feels that he wasn’t afforded the opportunity to do so with the Isles. That may or may not be accurate.
Nonetheless, Niederreiter has an opportunity to become a key piece of a Minnesota Wild offensive attack that can use all of the help that it can get. He has the chance to become a key piece of the top six for this club, and he certainly has the skill set to become an impact player.
Niederreiter is a supremely talented player. He has a skill set that features good hands and the ability to put the puck in the net. Not only does he have the necessary skill, but he has the drive as well. Almost equal to his ability to do some special things with the puck is his desire to do so.
Which is what makes him such an intriguing quantity heading into the 2013-14 season for the Wild. He’ll get an opportunity to play next to Mikael Granlund, who could use a player that talented on his wing. Granlund is a talented playmaker in the middle, which means that the two could feed off of each other. Potentially add Dany Heatley on the other side, and it’s a potentially very dangerous group.
Niederreiter could be headed for a breakout year with the Wild. In a large role with the club, he’ll have an opportunity he hasn’t yet seen at this level. Should we expect him to break out with a 25-goal campaign and maybe 60 points? Probably not, but he has the skill set to do it, and will be an extremely exciting player to watch for Minnesota in the upcoming year.