Matt Niskanen

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Matt Niskanen
Matt Niskanen 1 2012-03-11.JPG
Niskanen with the Penguins in 2012.
Born (1986-12-06) December 6, 1986 (age 27)
Virginia, MN, USA
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 204 lb (93 kg; 14 st 8 lb)
Position Defense
Shoots Right
NHL team
Former teams
Washington Capitals
Dallas Stars
Pittsburgh Penguins
National team  United States
NHL Draft 28th overall, 2005
Dallas Stars[1]
Playing career 2007–present

Matthew Norman Niskanen (born December 6, 1986) is an American professional ice hockey defenseman of Finnish origin who currently plays for the Washington Capitals. He was drafted by the Dallas Stars in the first round, 28th overall, in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

Playing career[edit]

Amateur[edit]

Niskanen attended the University of Minnesota Duluth. In 2005–06, during his freshman season, he recorded 14 points in 38 games. Before that, Niskanen played for the Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl boys' hockey team and helped bring the Blue Devils to their first state high school tournament appearance. During 2006–07, his sophomore season at UMD, he recorded nine goals and twenty-two assists in thirty-nine games. Niskanen was named to the 2006–07 All WCHA First Team,[2] and the All WCHA academic Team.[3]

Niskanen decided to leave college and turn pro after his sophomore season at UMD.[4] On March 19, 2007, he signed an amateur tryout contract with the Iowa Stars for the rest of the season; he later signed a three-year NHL contract with the Dallas Stars which began in 2007–08. He subsequently made the Stars' 2007–08 roster out of training camp.

Professional[edit]

Niskanen made his NHL regular season debut against the Colorado Avalanche on October 3, 2007. He recorded his first NHL points against the Boston Bruins two nights later with two assists. His first NHL goal came on October 29, 2007, against the San Jose Sharks. Niskanen had an excellent rookie start with the Stars, leading the team in plus/minus at mid-season, which resulted in his being invited to the Young Stars game during the 2008 NHL All-Star weekend.

On February 21, 2011, Niskanen was traded, along with teammate James Neal, to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for defenseman Alex Goligoski.[5]

On March 4, 2014, Matt Niskanen had his first multi-goal game with a two-goal effort in a 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena.[6]

In the final year of his contract with the Penguins and approaching free agency, Niskanen finished the 2013–14 season establishing new career highs in goals (10) & assists (36) for 46 points.

On July 1, 2014, Niskanen signed a seven-year, $40.25 million contract as a free agent with the Washington Capitals.[7]

Niskanen with the Stars.

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2005–06 Minnesota Duluth WCHA 38 1 13 14 40
2006–07 Minnesota Duluth WCHA 39 9 22 31 42
2006–07 Iowa Stars AHL 13 0 3 3 6 12 2 5 7 10
2007–08 Dallas Stars NHL 78 7 19 26 36 16 0 3 3 10
2008–09 Dallas Stars NHL 80 6 29 35 52
2009–10 Dallas Stars NHL 74 3 12 15 18
2010–11 Dallas Stars NHL 45 0 6 6 30
2010–11 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 18 1 3 4 20 7 0 1 1 0
2011–12 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 75 4 17 21 47 4 1 2 3 6
2012–13 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 40 4 10 14 12 15 0 2 2 11
2013–14 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 81 10 36 46 51 13 2 7 9 8
NHL totals 491 35 132 167 266 55 3 15 18 35

International[edit]

Year Team Event Result   GP G A Pts PIM
2006 United States WJC 4th 7 0 0 0 6
2009 United States WC 4th 9 1 2 3 2
Junior totals 7 0 0 0 6
Senior totals 9 1 2 3 2

Awards and honors[edit]

Award Year
All-WCHA First Team 2006–07

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Mark Fistric
Dallas Stars first round draft pick
2005
Succeeded by
Ivan Vishnevskiy