Niederreiter traded to Hurricanes by Wild for Rask
Carolina adds 'proven goal-scorer' in exchange of forwardsNHL.com @NHLdotcom
Nino Niederreiter was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes by the Minnesota Wild for Victor Rask on Thursday.
"It's definitely going to be a new beginning, a fresh start," Niederreiter said. "I'm looking forward to being a part of the Hurricanes. But at the moment, there's also some mixed feelings. I've spent some nice years here in Minnesota, made some great memories. Now it's definitely a new chapter in my life and I'm looking forward to it."
Niederreiter has 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in 46 games this season and 231 points (112 goals, 119 assists) in 498 NHL games. The 26-year-old forward was acquired by the Wild in a trade with the Islanders for forward Cal Clutterbuck and a third-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft on June 30, 2013.
[RELATED: 2018-19 NHL Trade Tracker]
Chuck Fletcher, the general manager who made the trade to acquire Niederreiter, was fired by the Wild on April 23 and replaced by Paul Fenton on May 21.
"Minnesota decided to get a new GM, and at the end of the day, the GM is going to make it his team. He's going to move some parts around eventually," Niederreiter said. "He knows what he has in the locker room and he knew what he wanted to change and what horse he wants to ride with. I was one of them, so that's just how it works in this business. It's not just about making friends, it's about winning. He thought, at the end of the day, I wasn't part of that. For me, it's definitely going to be a good new challenge."
The Wild signed Niederreiter to a five-year contract with an annual average value of $5.25 million on July 31, 2017, and the Hurricanes signed Rask to a six-year contract with an annual average value of $4 million on July 12, 2016.
"The way I look at it is, Victor Rask is a little bit younger and he's a center, and for me, center ice is a big quality that we're looking for," Fenton said. "He's got an upside to him. He's 25 years old. He's got years on his contract which are reasonable. If he comes in and he scores and takes that next step, then it really looks like a good trade."
The Hurricanes (22-19-5) are 7-3-0 in their past 10 games and seven points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. They host the Ottawa Senators at PNC Arena on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-CR, RDS2, TSN5, NHL.TV).
"We're excited to welcome a proven goal-scorer and veteran presence in Nino Niederreiter," Carolina general manager Don Waddell said.
Rask was selected by Carolina in the second round (No. 42) of the 2011 NHL Draft. He has six points (one goal, five assists) in 26 games this season and 163 points (63 goals, 100 assists) in 339 NHL games. He had surgery on his right hand Sept. 13 and didn't make his season debut until Nov. 21.
Video: Hurricanes acquire Niederreiter, deal Rask to Wild
It was the second trade in as many days for the Wild, who sent center Justin Kloos to the Anaheim Ducks for forward Pontus Aberg on Wednesday.
"I was looking for a right-shot forward that had scoring capability," Fenton said of Aberg, who has 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 37 games this season. "I think he's a guy that can step into our lineup and score goals. He has a dynamic set of skills that you're always looking for."
The Wild (23-20-3) hold the second wild card from the Western Conference entering their game against the Ducks at Xcel Energy Center on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; FS-N, PRIME, NHL.TV).
Fenton said he's not sure if the Wild will be buyers or sellers before the NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 25.
"That's a great question and I don't have an answer for you except that I'm going to continue to watch every night and see how we do," he said. "I'm looking at our team and how we play. One day I'm thinking that we have the opportunity to go forward and one day I'm thinking that, you know, it's not that great of a team. So I'm letting the players convince us where they are.
"We're looking for consistency. For me, when you make changes like this, it shows players that nothing is forever. It gives them an alert that if they want to be here they're going to have to play, and play the way that we want them to play, and be successful."
NHL.com correspondent Jessi Pierce contributed to this report