Carolina Hurricanes Nino Nidriter Free Agent

When Don Waddell and his company struck a deal to contract Victor Rask to Minnesota Wild in January of 2019, they achieved gold in a way no one really expected.

Returning to Carolina in the deal was Nino Niederreiter, who instantly boosted his game and became a game-changer for the Hurricanes as he and the team went on to participate in four consecutive playoffs for the first time since the move.

In 2019 after being traded, Niederreiter scored 14 goals and 30 points in just 36 games for Canes. Both goals significantly exceeded the 46-game aggregate with Minnesota that year. After a bit of a dip in the 2019-20 season, Niederretter scored 34 points in 56 games in 2021 before collecting 44 points in 75 games this past season.

In this year’s postseason, Niederreiter scored four goals with the Kans, the second-highest tally on the team behind only Vincent Trochek.

He played all year, and all of the playoffs, alongside Jordan Stahl and Jesper Fast as a key piece of Carolina’s most consistent two-way streak, the most reliable kit the Kans put on the ice in May.

“A big part is that we’ve all been in the league for a while,” Stahl said. “We all know what to expect from each other. We all know what it takes every day to get in and get to work. We talked a lot on the ice about what we could do better. We had to remind ourselves not just to close the other top line but to produce.” This mindset helps.”

But now Niederreiter’s contract in Carolina has expired, as he heads to unrestricted free agency looking to reap some of the success he’s had with the Hurricanes over the past three and a half seasons.

As for Niedereitter, he wants to get back together with Kanese.

“Obviously I’d like to stay here,” Niederreiter said. “I’m enjoying the group. I love living here. The fans are great. But at the end of the day, it’s not just about me.”

On the other side of this equation are Waddell and Nahas Kanz, who have also shown an interest in preserving Niederiter.

“We certainly hope [Niederreiter and Vincent Trocheck] Waddell said. “I’ll have a little more dialogue with their agents here in a bit and see where we are. We love our hockey club, and these players play key positions for us up front, key roles. It’s in our interest to see if we can bring them back.”

And as far as the coach is concerned, the feeling is the same.

“I want all the men back,” Rod Brende Amour said. “Don is the one who has to know everything. We have a good group, and I love the fact that we’ve come this far. Everyone here is leaving disappointed and that’s fine. We have to find a way to move forward.”

If it were that simple.

There is clearly a lot that goes into re-signing players. Money and contract term are very important. Niederretter said he would be open to signing before the UFA term opens, and while he said everyone prefers a long-term deal they just want to win and that the chance of winning in Carolina is great.

Niederreiter has been an integral part of what the Hurricanes have done over the past four years, and he’s a man who should be high on Carolina’s priority list when it comes to who to sign and who to let walk.

Keeping a Niederreiter around would be a huge deal for a reed stick. He has established a relationship with fans. He plays a huge role in the most important line in Canes. He’s a nice guy, and he’s a really good hockey player.

“Yes, this guy should stay where he is,” Stahl said. “He is obviously a great player and has a lot of fun to play with. He does everything really well. He will be a huge part of this group if he can keep going and help us win.”

But now, Niederretter said, the tango takes two people. Cover space will be tight, and with other free agents like Trocheck and Tony DeAngelo in the mix as well, there are decisions to be made by the Hurricanes leadership.

And while those decisions are tough, keeping Niederretter makes a lot of sense. He’s already done a lot for the franchise with his play, and there’s definitely more to give him.

“Obviously, once I was traded here, we were a long way from the supplement area. We found a way to get in,” Niederretter said. “It was a big ride that year to reach the conference finals. Over the course of the final segment, you can feel the full energy that is changing the city and within our team we expect to go far every year. It’s definitely a great thing to be a part of.”

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