Nino Niederreiter has had a less than ideal start to his 2019-20 season for the Carolina Hurricanes. What does Niederreiter need to do to turn his season in the right direction?
Nino Niederreiter’s struggles this season for the Carolina Hurricanes stems from his inability to put the puck in the net. Through 16 games played this season, he has just two goals and four assists. He didn’t score his first goal of the season until the eleventh game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
He doesn’t look like the player that the Hurricanes acquired from the Minnesota Wild last year. Instead, he isn’t showing the same type of confidence he did last year. Niederreiter seemed to be motivated by the trade, which led to an early impact, but he hasn’t been able to sustain that success.
Niederreiter has gotten better over the last six games, but only having six points for the line he plays on is troublesome. He is on a line with Teuvo Teravainen, who has four goals and nine assists. His line is centered by Jordan Staal, although not known for high-end scoring, he can play very good offense.
What does Niederreiter have to do in order to get back to the player we all know he can be?
First, Niederreiter succeeds when he is playing out in front of the net. He has a knack for putting home rebounds left by the opposing goalie. In addition to that, he can use his strength to out muscle defenseman in order to gain positioning for a scoring chance. He did this against the Detroit Red Wings this season, when he powered in, got a shot off, and put home his own rebound.
Second, Niederreiter’s discipline seems to have deteriorated in the early parts of the season. In 16 games, he has 14 penalty minutes, which is tied for second on the Hurricanes roster. The Carolina Hurricanes as a whole have been undisciplined, taking penalties at an alarming rate.
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Niederreiter seems to be frustrated at times and that leads to mental lapses on the ice, which most of the time result in a penalty. Once his confidence in his offensive game rises, this should improve as well.
Lastly, although the Carolina Hurricanes power play has been improving, Niederreiter has capitalized only once on the power play. He has a single goal and a single assist on the power play. If he can improve his play on the power play, then his offensive game could get rejuvenated that way.
Niederreiter typically is out in front of the goalie on the power play but does find his way on the wall from time to time. He feasts on rebound opportunities and on the power play there is always potential to get some rebounds. Doing this can help him get back on track.
Question for CC Readers: What are your thoughts on Nino Niederreiter’s start to the 2019-20 season?