As you may have read, I'm excited about next year's team. You may also know that I take a special interest in Islanders prospects. In my mind, Nino Niederreiter is the number one guy to watch right now. I have no doubt that he'll be a member of the New York Islanders next season.
That said, "El Niño" (who gave him that nickname anyway?) is tearing through the minor league playoffs again. Fresh off a 41-29-70 regular season (in 55 games), Niederreiter has stayed hot with two goals and three assists in his first two postseason games. In Game 2 of the series, his three point night (2G, 1A) earned him the honor of being named the 'first star' of the game.
In case you have forgotten, Nino performed well in last season's playoffs for his Western Hockey League Portland Winterhawks, putting up an 8-8-16 line in 13 games. His team came into the playoffs as a five seed and advanced one round, eventually losing in the Conference Semi-Finals.
This season it's a different story, as he is playing with a much stronger team. Portland earned the top seed in the Western Conference. He has more firepower around him, and he's a year older and more experienced.
He's off to a splendid start, and I'll provide periodic updates. The Winterhawks are up 2 games to 0 in their best of 7 series against Everett. Game 3 is on Wednesday, March 30th.