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Matt Niskanen | Defenseman

Team: Washington Capitals
Age / DOB:  (28) / 12/6/1986
Ht / Wt:  6'0' / 209
Contract: view contract details
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Recent News

Matt Niskanen scored a goal in a 5-3 victory on Tuesday.
Niskanen has two goals and 11 points in 27 contests in 2014-15. That's a big step back from his 46-point campaign with Pittsburgh last season. Niskanen might heat up as the season progresses, but we wouldn't count on that happening. Dec 10 - 9:43 AM

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Matt Niskanen potted his first goal of the season in the Capitals’ 2-1 loss to the Sabres on Saturday night.

The Capitals’ big-money defenseman scored on the power play. It has not been the start anyone envisioned for the 27-year-old who is coming off his best offensive season. Niskanen has just six points this season and hadn’t found the scoresheet since Nov. 7. Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson picked up the helpers.
Nov 22 - 9:54 PM

Matt Niskanen had two assists in Washington's 3-2 win over Chicago on Friday.

Niskanen needed a night like this after a quiet start to the 2014-15 campaign. Even after Friday's contest, he has just five assists in 13 games. He had 46 points in 2013-14, but he hasn't been able to consistently perform at that level offensively over the course of his career, so he's a substantial risk going forward.
Nov 8 - 11:19 AM

Matt Niskanen was a minus-three on Saturday.

As was his defense partner Karl Alzner. Niskanen had a lot of poolies excited after a big season with the Penguins in 2013-14 with 10 goals and 46 points but it has been anything but that this season as he had three assists with a minus-two rating in 10 games.
Nov 2 - 9:18 AM

It looks like Matt Niskanen will not be punished for his high hit on Jeff Skinner.

Niskanen defended himself by saying that Skinner spun into his elbow. Skinner has a concussion as a result of the incident.
Oct 7 - 10:38 AM

Matt Niskanen registered two assists in Washington’s 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Niskanen played just over 20 minutes in the game. He assisted on Jason Chimera’s first period goal and on Brooks Laich’s second period short-handed goal. Niskanen was also involved in a scary play where he made contact with Jeff Skinner’s head. Skinner skated off and looked dazed after the collision. The Capitals signed Niskanen to a huge seven-year contract this off-season and they are hoping he can continue to produce like he did on Sunday. This was the NHL’s last preseason game of 2014.
Oct 5 - 5:45 PM

Part of the reason Matt Niskanen decided to sign a seven-year, $40.25 million contract with the Capitals was the presence of head coach Barry Trotz.

Trotz is very well-respected in hockey circles after the success he managed to achieve during his tenure in Nashville and this was very much part of Niskanen's thought process. "I heard nothing but great things about Barry Trotz and the way things are going there," Niskanen said after signing with the club. In addition, both Brooks Orpik and newly-signed backup goaltender Justin Peters admitted they were swayed by a conversation they had with Trotz before signing in Washington as free agents.
Jul 6 - 6:08 PM

Matt Niskanen knows that his new contract carries higher expectations and he feels he will be up for the challenge.

"I've played essentially top-four minutes for 80 percent of the year last year. I had a lot of responsibility and at times I was the oldest defenseman by far on our team and our team had a lot of success," he said. "I had a good year. It definitely was a breakout year, and now the challenge for me is to try to keep moving forward. That's one thing me and Todd [Reirden] talked about, how do you get a little better this week, this season. I look forward to working with him some more." The two of them have a relationship from back in Pittsburgh. Niskanen amassed 10 goals, 46 points and a plus-33 rating in 81 games last season.
Jul 4 - 9:51 AM

Washington assistant coach Todd Reirden had a lot to do with the team's signing of Matt Niskanen.

Before joining he Capitals, he was an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins so he is very familiar with Niskanen. "We've scouted Matt for a long time too," GM Brian MacLellan said. "We had some questions on this is a big year for him, he had a good year, he had a good year two years ago, but Todd Reirden our defense coach had a lot of input on why his game was where it is and why he believed it would stay at this level. So we trusted Todd's opinion on that." Niskanen enjoyed a career year offensively with the Penguins last season and he was the top free agent defenseman on the market.
Jul 2 - 9:33 AM

The Washington Capitals have locked up Matt Niskanen to a seven-year deal worth $40.25 million.

"We are very excited that Matt Niskanen has chosen to sign with Washington," said GM Brian MacLellan. "At 27 years of age, he is just entering his prime for a defenseman. We feel he will be a staple on our blueline for many years to come. We have stated all along that upgrading the defense was our top priority this offseason and we feel we accomplished our goal with our signings today." He racked up 10 goals and 46 points in 81 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins last season. Niskanen will add another weapon to Washington's top-ranked power play.
Jul 1 - 4:59 PM

The Washington Capitals are one team that's showing interest in UFA Matt Niskanen.

The Capitals need help on their blueline and Niskanen is a good puck moving defenseman. The problem could be the length of the contract as Niskanen could get seven years from one team and the Capitals may not want to go more than five. It should be interesting as free agency starts Tuesday at noon Eastern.
Jun 30 - 9:59 AM

Matt Niskanen will test the free agent market on July 1.

His agent, Neil Sheehy made the announcement on Twitter after his client spoke with the Pittsburgh Penguins about the decision. GM Jim Rutherford expected this to happen, so it shouldn't have come as much of a surprise. Niskanen will be the best blueliner available on the open market, so he should be able to land a hefty contract.
Jun 26 - 1:41 PM

Matt Niskanen "loves Pittsburgh" and he hasn't ruled out returning, according to agent Neil Sheehy.

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford doesn't expect to re-sign Niskanen prior to the start of free agency, but the defenseman hasn't closed the door completely. However, it should be noted that the two sides aren't talking about an extension right now. Niskanen is still waiting to see who the Penguins hire as their next head coach.
Jun 24 - 11:42 AM

Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford doesn't think he'll be able to re-sign Matt Niskanen.

That's not surprising given that Niskanen will be the best defenseman available on the unrestricted free agent market. That puts him in a great position when negotiating with the Penguins and seeing as they're in a tough cap situation as it is, the Penguins probably couldn't afford to give him anywhere near market value.
Jun 23 - 6:48 PM

Matt Niskanen, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent, will pay close attention to the Penguins' hunt for a new head coach.

Niskanen was close with recently fired bench boss Dan Bylsma. "Dan being dismissed won't affect my decision," Niskanen said. "However, I will pay attention to what the coaching staff is going to look like. It's not the only factor in the decision. But it is a factor." He might end up commanding a salary of around $7 million annually on the open market, which would probably price the Penguins out anyways.
Jun 11 - 11:21 AM

Depth Charts

All Positions
PosRoleName
C1Nicklas Backstrom
2Evgeny Kuznetsov
3Brooks Laich
4Michael Latta
5Liam O'Brien
LW1Marcus Johansson
2Joel Ward
3Jason Chimera
4Aaron Volpatti
RW1Alex Ovechkin
2Troy Brouwer
3Andre Burakovsky
4Jay Beagle
5Eric Fehr
6Tom Wilson
D1Matt Niskanen
2John Carlson
3Mike Green
4Brooks Orpik
5Karl Alzner
6Dmitry Orlov
7Nate Schmidt
8John Erskine
9Jack Hillen
G1Braden Holtby
2Justin Peters