Roughly two and a half years ago, the Carolina Hurricanes acquired Nino Niederreiter from the Minnesota Wild, in exchange for Victor Rask.
Rask, now 28 years old, had spent his career with the Hurricanes and was in his fifth season as a member of the team's forward group. He could typically be counted on for around 15 goals and 40 points per 82 games with the Hurricanes. Rask had a slow start to the 2018-19 season, however, scoring just a goal and six points in 26 games, leading to the trade to Minnesota.
Niederreiter, also now 28 years old, was a former fifth-overall pick by the New York Islanders, but ended up being dealt to Wild a few years later. The winger ended up averaging roughly 21 goals and 43 points per 82 games in 434 games with the Wild, before heading to Carolina.
Both forwards have spent the entire time since the trade playing with the team who acquired them.
Rask has taken on a smaller role with the Wild overall, compared to what he had in Carolina. The center has also struggled to keep up with his past production, having averaged just 12 goals and 27 points per 82 games in two and a half seasons with Minnesota so far. That said, he did have his best year with the Wild this past season, and was on pace for 35 points per 82 games.
Niederreiter has maintained a middle-six role with the Hurricanes and has been counted on to round out Carolina’s top-six group. His performance has been a bit all over the place since being acquired by the Hurricanes, scoring an outstanding 14 goals and 30 points in 36 games his first half season with the team, before seeing his production drop in the 2019-20 season. Niederreiter was quite effective for the Hurricanes once again this season though, scoring at a pace of 29 goals and 50 points per 82 games.
Given that both forwards are the same age and each have a single year remaining on their respective contracts, there aren’t a ton of factors to consider in this comparison. It comes down to whether Niederreiter has provided more value for the Hurricanes at a $5.25 million cap hit, than Rask has provided for the Wild at a $4 million cap hit.
While Niederreiter has been inconsistent and his contract is somewhat overpriced, he’s still been a quality forward through much of his stretch with in Carolina. I think looking at how this trade has worked out for each team, it’s relatively clear the Hurricanes won this deal.
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