On Monday former Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen announced his retirement from the NHL. Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the news. Niskanen had one more year left on his contract with the Philadelphia Flyers and had $5.75 million remaining on his deal. He will forefit that money with his decision to hang up his skates.
Niskanen was an integral part of the 2017-18 Capitals team and his defense and leadership helped the team win their first Stanley Cup. Niskanen always held himself accountable in the locker room and if there was a bad game he was never shy to let you know about it.
He had a dismal 2018-19 season as age was starting to catch up to him. The Caps needed to clear cap space that offseason and with Nick Jensen already under contract, General Manager Brian MacLellan decided to trade Niskanen to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Radko Gudas.
Niskanen had a much better year with the Flyers and helped them make a respectable playoff run to the second round of the playoffs where they fell in seven games to the New York Islanders.
Niskanen retires at 33 years old and is on the final year of a contract he signed back in 2014. There won’t be any cap recapture penalty for his retirement.
In 390 games with the Caps, Niskanen recorded 29 goals and 127 assists for 156 points. He also had a +58 rating. Niskanen averaged 25:23 per game during the Caps run to the Stanley Cup in 2018 which was the second most on the team behind John Carlson’s 25:38. He led the Caps with 57 blocked shots and added nine points with a goal and eight assists with a +8 rating in 24 games.
Niskanen played in a total of 949 games with the Flyers, Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Dallas Stars. In his career, Niskanen scored 72 goals and added 284 assists for 356 points.
Back on Feb. 7th the Caps hosted the Flyers which marked Niskanen’s return to D.C. On an otherwise quiet night where the Flyers won 7-1, the fans roared during the tribute video for Niskanen and gave him a standing ovation.
Niskanen scored eight goals and added 25 assists for 33 points in his lone season with the Philadelphia Flyers. According to his agent, part of the reasoning for the retirement is due to the novel coronavirus and wanting to spend more time with his family.
Stars and Sticks would like to congratulate Niskanen on his retirement! We can’t wait to see him at the 2018 Stanley Cup reunions.
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Actu monde – FI – Washington Capitals: Matt Niskanen hangs up his skates