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Mini-camp Vital for Niederreiter

Forward is working hard to make an impact on the Islanders next season, starting with summer workouts

Monday, 06.25.2012 / 7:18 PM / News
By Travis Betts
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Mini-camp Vital for Niederreiter

The 2011-12 season was a difficult one for Islanders forward Nino Niederreiter.

After scoring a goal and an assist in nine games in 2010-11, the Chur, SUI native battled injuries and scored only one point (a goal) in 55 games for the Islanders last season. But as Niederreiter will tell you, with adversity comes education.

“At the end of the day, I learned so many things,” Niederreiter said. “I learned how to play in this league. I know what it takes to have an impact on the team. I would definitely say that I got better in the corners, on the walls and my defensive game. It was a difficult year but I learned a lot.”

Part of that learning process was putting in the extra time on the ice after practice with the coaching staff. It was not uncommon to see Niederreiter skating around, doing drills long after everyone else had finished their workouts. Now, he takes that everyday drive to improve his game into Islanders prospect camp, working hard to improve before next season.

“It was just so important for me to get better and better, especially for the season that’s coming up,” Niederreiter said. “In my mind, if I work as hard as possible, and do what I did last year, then I’m going to be a better, stronger player for next season.”

In May, Niederreiter represented Switzerland in the IIHF World Championship Tournament in Finland and Sweden. Despite the Swiss’ poor finish in the tournament, Niederreiter filled an expanded role, averaging almost 17 minutes of ice time in six games. The 19-year-old believes the increased responsibilities on an international stage helped his development.

“I had a chance to be a bigger leader on that team at a young age,” Niederreiter said. “I had a pretty good role. Most of the time I was trying to get a lot of traffic in front of the net and be a gritty and aggressive player, and I think I did it pretty well.”

The Islanders first-round (fifth overall) selection in the 2010 NHL Draft knows that much is expected of him in the future. Niederreiter’s positive attitude and ability to motivate himself has gone a long way with Islanders management.

"Nino has a strong work ethic and desire to become an elite player," General Manager Garth Snow said. "Like all competitors, he's always going to want more ice time and an increased role, which will come as he develops into a top-6 forward."

Niederreiter knows the importance of every opportunity he has to impress the coaching staff, starting with this week at the prospect mini-camp.

“Summer is going to be big,” Niederreiter said. “I’m going to do the workout that [Director of Sports Performance Sean Donellan] put together. It’s good to be here for the week, so he can see how I’m doing and how I’m feeling.”

While Monday was full of physical testing and off-ice workouts for the players, everyone will lace up their skates on Tuesday. Niederreiter knows the technical aspects of his game that he wants to focus on, but he is also on a mission to set himself apart from the pack.

“I want to get faster and I want to be a better skater,” Niederreiter said. “At the end, I can make many things better. I’m just going to try to be the best player at the camp.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 64 30 35 4 65
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 64 14 27 22 41
B. Nelson 64 17 19 7 36
F. Nielsen 64 11 25 12 36
A. Lee 58 20 13 13 33
J. Bailey 52 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 54 7 23 16 30
N. Leddy 64 8 18 15 26
T. Hamonic 54 4 21 15 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 33 13 0 .911 2.46
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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