|Assets:||Is an incredible athlete and superb skater. Owns a lot of offensive ability, including a good point shot, but is also capable of playing in all game situations.|
|Flaws:||Needs to improve his defensive consistency, since he tends to run around in his own end a bit. Also lacks ideal hockey sense, which hinders his game.|
|Career Potential:||Talented, yet inconsistent defenseman.|
|NHL||Played in the NHL YoungStars Game||2007-08|
|7/01/2014||Signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Washington Capitals to a seven-year contract.|
|2/13/2013||Missed 8 games (ankle injury).|
|1/31/2013||Ankle injury, injured reserve.|
|1/29/2013||Lower body injury, day-to-day.|
|7/01/2012||Signed by the Pittsburgh Penguins to a two-year contract.|
|4/15/2012||Missed 2 regular season and 2 playoff games (upper body injury).|
|4/05/2012||Upper body injury, day-to-day.|
|3/30/2012||Missed 4 games (upper body injury).|
|3/24/2012||Upper body injury, day-to-day.|
|11/11/2011||Missed 1 game (lower body injury).|
|11/05/2011||Lower body injury, day-to-day.|
|3/20/2011||Missed 2 games (flu).|
|2/21/2011||Acquired from the Dallas Stars.|
|2/15/2011||Missed 3 games (hand injury).|
|2/11/2011||Hand injury, day-to-day.|
|1/21/2011||Missed 6 games (lacerated hand).|
|1/07/2011||Lacerated hand, day-to-day.|
|9/16/2010||Re-signed as a restricted free agent by the Dallas Stars to a two-year contract.|
|6/15/2010||Dallas Stars tendered a qualifying offer.|
|10/28/2009||Missed 1 game (head injury).|
|10/24/2009||Head injury, day-to-day.|
|3/13/2008||Missed 1 game (sore back).|
|3/09/2008||Sore back, day-to-day.|
|3/05/2008||Missed 3 games (foot injury).|
|2/26/2008||Foot injury, day-to-day.|
|3/19/2007||Signed by the Dallas Stars to a three-year contract.|
|7/01/2014||Signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Washington Capitals.|
|2/21/2011||Pittsburgh Penguins traded Alex Goligoski to the Dallas Stars for James Neal and Matt Niskanen.|
|7/30/2005||Drafted by the Dallas Stars in the 1st round (28th overall) in 2005.|
Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen scored a power play goal on Friday versus the Islanders. | 11/28/2014 7:54 PM
NewsCapitals defenseman Matt Niskanen scored a power play goal on Friday versus the Islanders.
ImpactIt was just Niskanen's second goal of the season. Through 22 games, he has two goals, seven assists, and a minus-three rating, which is a huge disappointment. Last season with the Penguins, Niskanen had 10 goals, 36 assists and finished with a plus-33 rating.
Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen has been a fantasy disappointment in the first 10 games of the 2014-2015 season. | 11/01/2014 10:49 PM
NewsCapitals defenseman Matt Niskanen has been a fantasy disappointment in the first 10 games of the 2014-2015 season.
ImpactNiskanen was minus-three on Saturday versus the Lightning and has not scored yet. He has just three assists. The 27-year-old had 10 goals and 36 assists last season with Pittsburgh and signed 7-year, $40.25 million contract in July.
New Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen had a career-year in his last season in Pittsburgh a year ago. | 10/04/2014 5:42 PM
NewsNew Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen had a career-year in his last season in Pittsburgh a year ago.
ImpactThe question is, can the 27-year-old repeat his 10 goal and 36 assist performance from last year? It seems unlikely since Green will likely get the majority of the power-play minutes. Niskanen is still a guy worth drafting, but the expectations should not be set based on his production a year ago.
Barry Trotz a factor in Matt Niskanen's pick | 07/06/2014 6:08 PM
NewsPart of the reason Matt Niskanen decided to sign a seven-year, $40.25 million contract with the Capitals was the presence of head coach Barry Trotz.
ImpactTrotz is very well-respected in hockey circles after the success he managed to achieve during his tenure in Nashville and this was very much part of Niskanen's thought process. "I heard nothing but great things about Barry Trotz and the way things are going there," Niskanen said after signing with the club. In addition, both Brooks Orpik and newly-signed backup goaltedner Justin Peters admitted they were swayed by a conversation they had with Trotz before signing in Washington as free agents.
Matt Niskanen ready for higher expectations | 07/04/2014 9:51 AM
NewsMatt Niskanen knows that his new contract carries higher expectations and he feels he will be up for the challenge.
Impact"I've played essentially top-four minutes for 80 percent of the year last year. I had a lot of responsibility and at times I was the oldest defenseman by far on our team and our team had a lot of success," he said. "I had a good year. It definitely was a breakout year, and now the challenge for me is to try to keep moving forward. That's one thing me and Todd [Reirden] talked about, how do you get a little better this week, this season. I look forward to working with him some more." The two of them have a relationship from back in Pittsburgh. Niskanen amassed 10 goals, 46 points and a plus-33 rating in 81 games last season.
Caps assistant coach very high on Niskanen | 07/02/2014 9:33 AM
NewsWashington assistant coach Todd Reirden had a lot to do with the team's signing of Matt Niskanen.
ImpactBefore joining he Capitals, he was an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins so he is very familiar with Niskanen. "We've scouted Matt for a long time too," GM Brian MacLellan said. "We had some questions on this is a big year for him, he had a good year, he had a good year two years ago, but Todd Reirden our defense coach had a lot of input on why his game was where it is and why he believed it would stay at this level. So we trusted Todd's opinion on that." Niskanen enjoyed a career year offensively with the Penguins last season and he was the top free agent defenseman on the market.
The Capitals have signed defenseman Matt Niskanen to a seven-year contract. | 07/01/2014 8:34 PM
NewsThe Capitals have signed defenseman Matt Niskanen to a seven-year contract.
ImpactWith Kris Letang and Paul Martin dealing with injuries for most of the season, the 27-year-old Niskanen stepped up and served as the Penguins top blueliner. He finished with 10 goals and 36 assists in 81 games, all career highs. Fantasy owners shouldn't expect him to quite reach those numbers again.
Caps, Niskanen sign a 7-year, $40.25M deal | 07/01/2014 4:59 PM
NewsThe Washington Capitals have locked up Matt Niskanen to a seven-year deal worth $40.25 million.
Impact"We are very excited that Matt Niskanen has chosen to sign with Washington," said GM Brian MacLellan. "At 27 years of age, he is just entering his prime for a defenseman. We feel he will be a staple on our blueline for many years to come. We have stated all along that upgrading the defense was our top priority this offseason and we feel we accomplished our goal with our signings today." He racked up 10 goals and 46 points in 81 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins last season. Niskanen will add another weapon to Washington's top-raked power play.
Washington showing interest in Matt Niskanen | 06/30/2014 9:59 AM
NewsThe Washington Capitals are one team that's showing interest in UFA Matt Niskanen.
ImpactThe Capitals need help on their blueline and Niskanen is a good puck moving defenseman. The problem could be the length of the contract as Niskanen could get seven years from one team and the Capitals may not want to go more than five. It should be interesting as free agency starts Tuesday at noon Eastern.
Matt Niskanen will test free agency on July 1 | 06/26/2014 1:41 PM
NewsMatt Niskanen will test the free agent market on July 1.
Neil Sheehy on Twitter
ImpactHis agent, Neil Sheehy made the announcement on Twitter after his client spoke with the Pittsburgh Penguins about the decision. GM Jim Rutherford expected this to happen, so it shouldn't have come as much of a surprise. Niskanen will be the best blueliner available on the open market, so he should be able to land a hefty contract.
Matt Niskanen hasn't counted out Pittsburgh | 06/24/2014 11:42 AM
NewsMatt Niskanen "loves Pittsburgh" and he hasn't ruled out returning, according to agent Neil Sheehy.
ImpactPenguins GM Jim Rutherford doesn't expect to re-sign Niskanen prior to the start of free agency, but the defenseman hasn't closed the door completely. However, it should be noted that the two sides aren't talking about an extension right now. Niskanen is still waiting to see who the Penguins hire as their next head coach.
Niskanen isn't likely to stay with Pittsburgh | 06/23/2014 6:48 PM
NewsPittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford doesn't think he'll be able to re-sign Matt Niskanen.
ImpactThat's not surprising given that Niskanen will be the best defenseman available on the unrestricted free agent market. That puts him in a great position when negotiating with the Penguins and seeing as they're in a tough cap situation as it is, the Penguins probably couldn't afford to give him anywhere near market value.
Matt Niskanen watching Pens' coaching search | 06/11/2014 11:21 AM
NewsMatt Niskanen, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent, will pay close attention to the Penguins' hunt for a new head coach.
ImpactNiskanen was close with recently fired bench boss Dan Bylsma. "Dan being dismissed won't affect my decision," Niskanen said. "However, I will pay attention to what the coaching staff is going to look like. It's not the only factor in the decision. But it is a factor." He might end up commanding a salary of around $7 million annually on the open market, which would probably price the Penguins out anyways.
Red Wings might bid on Matt Niskanen | 06/04/2014 9:19 AM
NewsThe Detroit Red Wings desire to upgrade their defense might lead them to pursue Matt Niskanen.
Detroit Free Press
ImpactNiskanen had 10 goals and 46 points in 81 games in 2013-14 and he's a right-handed shot, which is something the Red Wings are seeking. The problem is, if Niskanen makes it to the free agent market, he'll have plenty of suitors and could end up getting a contract in the $7 million annually range. Although Detroit could conceivably pay that, they typically shy away from high profile free agent bidding wars. On the rare occasions where they did appear to engage in them in recent years, they typically came up short.
Matt Niskanen has eight points in first round | 04/29/2014 10:41 AM
NewsMatt Niskanen recorded two assists in Pittsburgh's 4-3 victory over Columbus on Monday.
ImpactWith that win, Pittsburgh has eliminated the Blue Jackets in six games. Niskanen was a key player in the first round series with two goals and eight points.
Niskanen records second straight G, A in loss | 04/19/2014 11:08 PM
NewsMatt Niskanen notched a goal and an assist in the Penguins' 4-3 double-overtime loss to the Blue Jackets in Game 2 of the first-round series.
ImpactWith each game, Niskanen, an unrestricted free agent this offseason, is showing his worth and earning himself a better payday. The 27-year-old played 27:35 in recording his second straight power-play-goal-assist performance. Brian Gibbons, who left after playing just 2:26 in the first period, picked up the other two goals, his first-ever playoff markers. Gibbons notched the game's first goal at even strength and the second on the power play. Paul Martin, who logged 34:07, had two helpers, and so did Sidney Crosby, who finished with 30:34 in ice time.
Matt Niskanen stays on Pens' No. 1 PP unit | 04/19/2014 12:47 PM
NewsMatt Niskanen practiced on the Penguins' top power-play unit in Saturday's pregame skate.
Dave Molinari on Twitter
ImpactBoth of his points (one goal, one assist) came with the man advantage in Game 1. Kris Letang struggled in the playoff opener, which resulted in Niskanen's promotion during the contest.
Matt Niskanen helps lead Penguins past CBJ | 04/17/2014 10:23 AM
NewsMatt Niskanen had a goal and an assist in Pittsburgh's 4-3 victory over Columbus in Game 1 of the first round.
ImpactNiskanen had the best season of his career with 10 goals and 46 points in 81 games. With two points, he's already just one shy of his career-high in a single playoff run.
Matt Niskanen notches his 10th goal of season | 03/16/2014 3:16 PM
NewsWhile the Pittsburgh Penguins defense has been rattled by injuries this season, Matt Niksanen continues to be a pleasant surprise, as he notched 10 goals for the first time in his career on Sunday.
ImpactHe now has 39 points overall, already buffing up another best-ever mark for the 27-year-old defenseman. With a solid 45 PIM and fantastic +31 rating, he's easily worth having but isn't available in many leagues any longer (79 percent owned).
Matt Niskanen tallies two-goal game for Pens | 03/04/2014 11:22 PM
NewsMatt Niskanen punched in two goals for the Pens in their 3-1 win over Nashville on Tuesday night.
ImpactNiskanen now has nine goals and 37 points through 61 games this season. The 27 year-old has five points in his past five games in what has been a breakout year.
Matt Niskanen scores lone goal in loss | 01/20/2014 10:08 PM
NewsMatt Niskanen was the lone goal scorer for the Penguins in a 5-1 throttling against the Panthers on Monday.
ImpactNiskanen's marker was his seventh of the campaign, but it was far from enough for the losing Penguins. Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang drew assists on the goal.
Matt Niskanen scores, but Penguins fall | 12/31/2013 3:39 PM
NewsMatt Niskanen scored the Pittsburgh Penguins' lone goal in a 2-1 defeat against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.
ImpactSidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz assisted on Niskanen's goal. For Crosby, it was just the third time in seven games that he had been held to one or fewer points.
Matt Niskanen has rebuilt his confidence | 12/23/2013 10:31 AM
NewsMatt Niskanen has regained his confidence.
ImpactNiskanen has 17 points in 38 games while averaging 20:13 minutes per contest this season. He also has a plus-20 rating, which is superb even on a team as talented as the Penguins. Assistant coach Todd Reirden feels that Niskanen's confidence was hurt when he was traded to Pittsburgh because he was regarded as a throw-in in the James Neal for Alex Goligoski deal. Whatever the case might be, he's been a big help to the Penguins.
Matt Niskanen shining on Pens blueline | 12/20/2013 7:48 PM
NewsMatt Niskanen is emerging as a formidable fantasy performer this season on the Penguins' blueline.
ImpactThe 27 year-old has three points in his past two games, raising his point output to 16 points so far this season to go along with an impressive +20 rating with 29 penalty minutes.
Matt Niskanen sees career high minutes Satur. | 12/15/2013 9:35 AM
NewsMatt Niskanen played a career high 29:26 minutes on Saturday.
ImpactNiskanen was forced to take on a huge load as Kris Letang was a late scratch and Deryk Engelland was tossed from the game as he picked up a match penalty for his hit on Justin Abdelkader. Niskanen will see plenty of power play time in Letang's absence so he is worth picking up at this time in deeper leagues.
Matt Niskanen turning into key member of Pens | 10/19/2013 11:39 AM
NewsDefenseman Matt Niskanen, whom many expected to be traded in a salary move this summer, has been an important figure in Pittsburgh's 6-1-0 start.
ImpactThrough the season's first two weeks, only two NHL defensemen have produced more points than Niskanen's six. He leads the NHL with a plus-10 mark, and he and defenseman Rob Scuderi have formed a strong pairing. Niskanen has been more influential in the offensive zone than in years past, firing one-timers at will. He scored the game-winning goal on a one-timer against Tampa Bay last Saturday. Niskanen, 26, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and signing him to a long-term deal could be difficult for the Penguins, who have approximately $18 million in salary locked into the blue line next season. The organization also has a wealth of defensive prospects in Olli Maatta, Simon Despres, Derrick Pouliot, Scott Harrington and Brian Dumoulin - all of whom are or are close to being NHL-ready. Niskanen, however, hinted strongly that he would consider staying in Pittsburgh for less money than he could receive on the open market.
Matt Niskanen gets game winner Saturday | 10/13/2013 11:01 AM
NewsMatt Niskanen scored the game winner with only 19 seconds remaining on Saturday.
ImpactIt was a power play goal and his first of the season. Niskanen has been getting extra offensive duties with the injury to Kris Letang, and he now has five points this season as he also picked up an assist Saturday. Do not expect this scoring surge to continue but milk it as long as Letang remains sidelined.
Matt Niskanen gets off to strong start | 10/08/2013 11:43 AM
NewsMatt Niskanen has gotten off to a strong start with three points in two contests.
Impact"I feel comfortable, happy that everything's going well," Niskanen said. "I put in the work to get ready for camp. Camp went well. And now it's carried over to the first couple [of games]." Niskanen's name was brought up in trade rumors during training camp, but it looks like he'll stick with the Penguins for now. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma has called Niskanen their best defenseman so far.
Matt Niskanen gets two points Saturday | 10/06/2013 10:32 AM
NewsMatt Niskanen registered two assists on Saturday.
ImpactNiskanen has three points in two games. Trade rumors swirled around him going into the season because the Penguins could use the cap space, but at this point we doubt he'll be traded anytime soon.
Pens not thinking about moving Niskanen | 09/28/2013 8:36 PM
NewsEven though the Penguins are over the salary cap, general manager Ray Shero will not look to move Matt Niskanen.
ImpactThe defenseman has a $2.3 million cap hit, which is a little much for a bottom-pair defenseman. Pittsburgh feels comfortable with him playing top-four minutes in case of an injury, so they value keeping him around. He had 14 points and averaged 20:21 of ice time per game last season. If Kris Letang (lower-body injury) isn't ready for the start of the year, Niskanen would be moved up.
Matt Niskanen knows he could be traded | 09/03/2013 10:53 AM
NewsMatt Niskanen knows that his future with the Penguins is uncertain heading into training camp.
Impact"I know the situation we're in, being over the cap," Niskanen said after an informal workout Monday. "It's pretty evident that Ray [Shero, the general manager] has to make a decision. Someone who probably otherwise is a regular on our roster [will be traded]." Rob Scuderi's signing in July and Niskanen's cap hit of $2.3 million makes him a logical candidate to be moved. He should also be able to attract interest on the trade market because he is becoming a much more reliable defender.
Rob Scuderi's arrival leads to trade talks | 07/07/2013 10:20 AM
NewsThe signing of defenseman Rob Scuderi makes it a relative certainty the Penguins will trade a blueliner before the start of the season.
ImpactNot only do the Pens currently have eight NHL-caliber defensmen on their roster, but since they're expected to be above the salary cap threshold, a move of some sort seems like a no-brainer. Given that he's one year away from free agency, Matt Niskanen's name has been one of the more popular ones mentioned in trade talks. A move to a team where he could take on a more offensive role could actually be a boon to his fantasy value. Stay tuned to see how the situation develops.
Matt Niskanen playing a number of roles | 05/19/2013 8:25 AM
NewsPenguins Matt Niskanen recently found himself on the team's top defensive pairing alongside superstar Kris Letang.
ImpactNiskanen, who plays a fairly well-rounded game, understands he must play a more defensive style when paired with the Norris Trophy finalist. "Being aware of when [Letang] is being aggressive up the ice, I've got to be more responsible to let him do what he does," Niskanen said. It's a testament to his versatility that Niskanen can be paired with such an offensive partner after spending time alongside stay-at-home blueliner Doug Murray.
Matt Niskanen is taken off IR by Penguins | 02/13/2013 6:45 PM
NewsThe Pittsburgh Penguins have taken Matt Niskanen (ankle) off of injured reserve.
Dave Molinari on Twitter
ImpactThe move could pave the way for his return to the lineup on Wednesday night. He and Kris Letang were both listed as game-time decisions after the morning skate. Niskanen has missed the Penguins' past eight contests with an ankle injury. Prior to getting hurt, he was partnered with Letang on the blueline.
Matt Niskanen (ankle) is getting closer | 02/13/2013 12:39 PM
NewsMatt Niskanen (ankle) practiced with his teammates on Tuesday.
ImpactHe probably won't play Wednesday but he is progressing. "It doesn't do any good to come back and be hobbling around out there," he said. "I don't want to be a liability." Niskanen has been out of action since Jan. 27 because of an ankle injury.
Matt Niskanen skates with Penguins' Sunday | 02/11/2013 11:59 AM
NewsMatt Niskanen (ankle) took part in Sunday's optional skate.
Impact"It feels good to be out with the team again," said Niskanen. "Mike Kadar does a good job, but that gets old pretty quickly." Kadar is the Penguins' conditioning coach. Niskanen cautioned that he still had "a few more steps to take" before he'll be ready to return to Pittsburgh's lineup.
Matt Niskanen to miss Sunday's contes | 02/10/2013 12:35 PM
NewsMatt Niskanen (ankle) will miss Sunday's contest against the New Jersey Devils.
Rob Rossi on Twitter
ImpactNiskanen had been playing with Kris Letang this campaign and was off to a good start with three points in five games before the injury. "It is feeling better. I've been able to do more and more things on the ice every day. I'd like to think I'm close (to returning), but we'll just have to wait and see how I progress. Got a few more steps to take," said Niskanen.
Pens place Matt Niskanen (ankle) on IR | 01/31/2013 2:24 PM
NewsMatt Niskanen (ankle) has been placed on Pittsburgh's injured reserve list.
Dave Molinari on Twitter
ImpactHe's projected to miss two to four weeks with an ankle injury. Niskanen's move to the IR means that the Penguins don't have to adjust their roster following Zach Boychuk's arrival off waivers from Carolina.
Matt Niskanen (ankle) will miss 2-4 weeks | 01/30/2013 6:17 PM
NewsMatt Niskanen is slated to miss the next two to four weeks with what is believed to be an ankle injury.
ImpactHe suffered the injury during Sunday's win over Ottawa and didn't play on Tuesday because of it. Niskanen had been playing well prior to getting hurt with three points in five games and plenty of ice time next to Kris Letang.
Matt Niskanen (lower body) won't play Tuesday | 01/29/2013 9:42 AM
NewsMatt Niskanen won't play Tuesday, but his lower-body injury isn't expected to keep him on the shelf for very long.
ImpactIt is expected that he will be listed as day-to-day following Tuesday's contest. Niskanen had been playing with Kris Letang this campaign and he was off to a good start with three points and nine shots in five games. Simon Despres or Robert Bortuzzo will take his place in the lineup.
Penguins' Matt Niskanen sustains LBI Sunday | 01/28/2013 1:24 PM
NewsMatt Niskanen played only nine shifts for 6:39 of ice time in Sunday's 2-1 shootout win over Ottawa because of a lower-body injury.
ImpactHe didn't play the final two periods after suffering what may have been a knee injury. Niskanen was tripped by Senators forward Milan Michalek late in the first period and he went hard into the boards knee-first. He will be re-evaluated on Monday, but the severity of the injury was unclear after the game.
|Goals||1||2 times-last:at TB||last:Dec 9||2|
|Assists||3||vs. NYI||Nov 28||2|
|Points||3||vs. NYI||Nov 28||2|
|Penalty Minutes||4||vs. Edm||Jan 20||5|
|Plus/Minus||2||2 times-last:at Tor||last:Jan 7||3|
|Power Play Goals||1||2 times-last:at TB||last:Dec 9||1|
|Power Play Points||1||5 times-last:at TB||last:Dec 9||2|
|Shorthanded Goals||0||46 times-last:vs. Edm||last:Jan 20||0|
|Shorthanded Points||1||at Tor||Jan 7||0|
|Shots||5||2 times-last:vs. Fla||last:Jan 4||7|
|Penalty Minutes||52||2008-09 (Dal)|
|Power Play Goals||3||2 times-last: 2013-14 (Pit)|
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