Sunday, June 06, 2010

Nino Niederreiter / RW / Portland WHL

Nino Niederreiter / Portland Winterhawks WHL

RW-L / 6-1.5, 205 / 08-Sep-92

Skating: 60 / Skill: 65 / Sense: 70 / Compete: 75 / Toughness: 65

Strengths: Plays with a ton of passion. Hates to lose. Has an excellent shooting touch. Good strength and likes to be physical.

Weaknesses: First step quickness is lacking. Not terribly dynamic off the rush. Needs help from linemates to create scoring chances.


So much for Swiss stereotypes. Competes hard all the time and has an obvious passion for the game. If he were named Neil Niederchuk, he'd be the poster boy for the North American hard hat and lunch bucket style of play. Except this guy also brings a lot of Euro offense.

Shooting touch is his best asset. Accurate, hard shot and has a tremendous release. Good one-timer. Always seems to force goaltenders to make a tough save no matter where he's shooting from. Excellent hands, can stickhandle and make nice crisp passes, but still figuring out how to use his linemates. Has some decent speed, but takes a couple steps to get going. Outstanding agility and balance. Skating is a plus overall.

Tries to play a dynamic, game-breaking end-to-end kind of style at times, but that part of his game is unrefined and held back by slight lack of quickness. Can also play a blue collar style effectively. Loves to throw the body around. Does a lot of dirty work. Put on quite a bit of muscle on before this season and has good overall strength. Underrated defensively.

Seemed to sag late in the season, as he just didn't have the jump in his legs, probably due to having played in far more games than ever before in his career. Dug down and found some extra jump in the playoffs, and played some of his best hockey in the postseason.

Summary: Goal scoring ability alone will play well in the NHL. That combined with the compete level makes him one of the safest picks in the draft. Will contribute whether he tops out as a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd line winger.

Draft Day: Back end of the top ten, in the 5-10 range. I don't really see him going much higher or lower than that.


Traktor said...

What do you think about Brendan Shanahan as a comparable?

Michael Remmerde said...

Shanahan is exactly who I compared him to last month in the Red Line Report Draft Guide.

That's not to say he's going to have a similar Hall of Fame kind of career, but just as a style of play comparison.