Key Stat: Niskanen finished the year with 25 points, his lowest scoring total in six seasons.
The Good: Although the start of his season was lackluster, Niskanen was able to turn his game around starting in January. He started playing much smarter hockey and appeared more defensively aware, and in light of injuries on the blue line, he was able to step up and make a difference. In the final four months of the year, he improved and was a plus-7 (prior to that, Niskanen had a minus-10 rating). Additionally, he was a shot-blocking machine and also wasn’t afraid to throw his weight around.
The Bad: As touched upon, Niskanen struggled to find his footing to start the year. Giveaways and turnovers got the better of him as he experienced woes in his own zone. However, he did generate production at the beginning of the season, recording 14 points through the first 36 games of the season. After that, however, his offensive prowess seemed to falter a bit.
The Discussion: Given Niskanen’s performance and the need for Washington to cut salary, he has become the topic of trade rumors. However, with room to improve and Niskanen being an integral top-4 guy on the ice and a strong locker room presence off, will he be able to play a consistent game if he returns next season? Or will mistakes plague him yet again? What would it take for you to give him a ‘10’ next season?
Other Niskanen Season Reviews: RMNB
The Vote: Rate Niskanen below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
How do you rate Dmitry Orlov’s 2018-19 season?
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