Heading into the 2020-21 season, the Carolina Hurricanes are still lacking one more legitimate top-six winger and as a result, the team will likely need to look internally for a solution. We can bet that Vincent Trocheck will center the second line with Martin Necas on the wing, but there will still be an open spot remaining on the other side and in all likelihood, Nino Niederreiter will be the one playing there.
Niederreiter’s production was down quite a bit this year, though part of that can be attributed to a lower shooting percentage and less ice time. We know that Rod Brind’Amour doesn’t mind mixing up the lines but he’ll only do that until he’s given a reason not to. We saw what Niederreiter could do in a large role after being acquired by the Hurricanes part way through the 2018-19 season and if he’s able to perform like that, there’d be no need to try out anyone else in the top-six.
Nieddereiter has had somewhat of a wide range when it comes to his production from year to year. Here are his goals and points per 82 games average over each of the last five seasons:
While Niederreiter isn’t likely to replicate the exact pace he set with the Hurricanes when he first arrived, his numbers were down from where we’ve seen them over the last four years before that. Next season, I think it’s reasonable to expect at least 20 goals and 45 points next season from Niederreiter, especially if he’s playing top-six minutes.
He may be a better fit as a quality middle-six forward playing on the third line but Niederreiter is Carolina’s best bet to be an effective winger on the team’s second line next season.
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Here’s today’s poll questions (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
How many points do you expect from Nino Niederreiter next season?