TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned defenseman Janne Niskala to the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League today, Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced.
Niskala, 6 foot, 199 pounds, made his NHL debut with Tampa Bay this season. He played in six games with the Lightning, recording a goal and three points. Niskala scored his first career goal while on the power play on October 11 versus the Carolina Hurricanes. He recorded his first career assist on October 16 against the New York Islanders. Niskala averaged 13:42 of ice time per game, ranking eighth on the team among defensemen.
The native of Vasteras, Sweden recorded 19 goals, 44 points and 81 penalty minutes in 80 regular season games for the Milwaukee Admirals last season. He led Admirals defensemen in goals (19, second among AHL defensemen) and points (44, tied for 11th among AHL defensemen). Though born in Sweden, Niskala is a Finnish citizen and was the leading scorer among defensemen for bronze medal-winning Team Finland at the 2008 IIHF World Championships.
Prior to joining the Nashville Predators organization for the 2007-08 season, Niskala played parts of the previous seven seasons with teams in top European Leagues, including Lukko Rauma (Finland - 2000-01 through 2004-05), EV Zug (Swiss - 2005-06) and Farjestad (Sweden - 2006-07). He registered 72 goals and 92 assists for 164 points and 369 penalty minutes in 296 regular season games during his final six seasons in Europe (2001-02 through 2006-07). He has led his teams’ defensemen in goals in each of his past five seasons. He led Swedish Elite League defensemen in points with 49 (19-30) in 2006-07. Niskala was drafted by Nashville in the fifth round (147th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.