|In his last season with the Portland Winterhawks, El Nino had 41 goals in 55 games. (Getty Images)|
Since being drafted fifth overall in the 2010 draft by the Islanders, Nino Niederreiter's name has been mentioned as one of their elite prospects, a guy who was part of the future of their franchise.
Now, almost three years later, he's still just a part of the future of their franchise. Although he apparently does not want to be a part anymore.
From Katie Strang of ESPN New York:
Nino Niederreiter's camp has requested a trade from the New York Islanders, a source told ESPNNewYork.com.
The former first-round pick (5th overall, 2010) is unhappy with his current situation, the source said, and feels he would be best served playing somewhere other than with the Islanders organization.
Isles beat writer for Newsday Arthur Staple confirmed the trade request but also said don't expect it to happen. Here's what GM Garth Snow told Staple:
"All conversations with players remain private, but I haven't heard from Nino himself that he's unhappy."
Keep in mind here, Niederreiter is just 20 years old, still an infant in terms of hockey prospects, perhaps a toddler. But so far his time with the Islanders has been, well, somewhat typical of what you'd expect from the Islanders.
Last season he spent 55 games with the team in a very limited role. For a player who was a big scorer at the junior level, he had just one goal and no assists, surely disappointing to some, no matter how minimal his role was. But this season he began with the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers and is their leading scorer at this point with 19 goals and 17 assists.
Despite the 55-game stint last season and the good season in the AHL, Niederreiter didn't even get an invitation to join the Islanders for the abbreviated training camp.
Perhaps that's why he's upset, that or the limited role he had with the Islanders last season. Or maybe it's just that he's with the Islanders and as we've learned in recent years, that is upsetting to a lot of players.
Certainly, though, the argument can be made that Niederreiter should spend more time in the AHL maturing as a player before going to the NHL. His 55-game stint is enough to at least warrant that discussion. The Islanders have been taking the slow approach for some time now and this would fit the mold (we can argue they should try the fast track for once but that would apparently fall on deaf ears). Still, the guy couldn't get at least an invite to camp?
It's an interesting situation all around. It's not often that you hear of 20-year-olds requesting trades from their franchises already, particularly before they have proven themselves at the NHL level. According to Strang, Snow isn't keen on trying to trade Niederreiter, just as you'd expect. Regardless of the bad first impression at the NHL level, he's still a heck of a talent and, again, is just 20.
Meanwhile, in what can only be described as awful timing and/or awareness, the Islanders tweeted this out just minutes after the reports of Niederreiter's request came down. Never change, Isles.
First Evgeni Nabokov then Lubomir Visnovsky and now Niederreiter ... it's safe to say the Islanders might have a problem.