Niskanen's Uneven Play
Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen’s uneven play contributed to the Caps recent losing streak. He’s one of the expensive free agent defenseman General Manager Brian MacLellan picked up over the summer, Brooks Orpik being the other. At $40.25 million for 7-years, a lot was expected of the then 27-year old.
During the 2013-2014 NHL season, Niskanen posted a plus-33, first among NHL defensemen. He generated enough offense at 10G-36A-46P to end the season 13th among blue liners. This, along with an average ice time of 21:07, were career bests for Niskanen. He thrived with the added opportunity he got in Pittsburgh because of injuries to that team. When the Caps played Detroit on October 24th of this season and Coach Mike Babcock complemented both pickups and talked about how it was harder to play against teams with back ends that can move the puck up the ice, it felt like maybe MacLellan hit the lottery with his defensive pickups.
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Let's go Caps!