Noon Number (November 25th): 22

Hands up if you're not as good as Nino Niederreiter! - Bruce Bennett

We're roughly a quarter of the way through the season, so let's get an update on how the Niederreiter/Clutterbuck trade is panning out for their respective new teams.

As we all know by now, the Wild traded away, fan favourite, #22, Cal Clutterbuck to the New York Islanders for the, somewhat troubled, 5th overall pick from the 2010 draft, Nino Niederreiter. The Wild's new #22 has settled in well and is showing flashes of why he was such a high draft pick.

Let's look at some numbers and compare how both players are performing so far with their respective new teams.

*

Basic Stats

NIEDERREITER

CLUTTERBUCK

GP

24

18

G

5

2

A

8

2

P

13

4

S / Sh%

54 / 9.3%

39 / 5.1%

CF/60

13.0

18.8

PIM

14

12

HitF/60

9.2

17.7

TOI/G

14:12

12:04

PP TOI/G

1:54

1:08

SH TOI/G

0:00

0:14

Nino is, unsurprisingly, out-scoring Clutterbuck so far. 13 points is a pretty good return from a young forward who is finding his feet in the NHL. One thing he needs to improve is the amount of shot attempts he is getting. Cal is attempting nearly 6 more shots than him per game.

Cal clearly hasn't lost his ability to rack-up ridiculous hit counts. Nino is putting his body around the place quite a bit too. Both players are seeing time on the powerplay, and, weirdly, Cal isn't being used on the PK. Nino is getting more overall TOI per game.

On-Ice Stats

NIEDERREITER

CLUTTERBUCK

CF%

57.3%

48.3%

CF% Rel

+5.2%

-2.3%

Sh%

5.4%

5.8%

Sv%

94.2%

89.1%

PDO

99.6

94.9

Nino has much better puck possession numbers. Being a +5.2% Corsi relative player on a strong puck possession team is no mean feat.

Usage Stats

NIEDERREITER

CLUTTERBUCK

OZ St%

32.8%

34.6%

NZ St%

43.4%

29.7%

DZ St%

23.8%

35.7%

QoC

28.9%

28.2%

QoT

31.2%

27.6%

Tm% #1

GRANLUND (49.3%)

REGIN (68.0%)

Tm% #2

POMINVILLE (37.6%)

GRABNER (28.8%)

Tm% #3

KOIVU (26.9%)

CIZIKAS (22.4%)

Any suggestion that Nino's excellent puck possession numbers are a result of his deployment are blown-up here. He is getting a lower percentage of defensive zone starts than Clutterbuck, but also a lower percentage of offensive zone starts. He is mostly getting deployed in the neutral zone.

Nino is facing narrowly tougher competition than Clutterbuck, but with better teammates. He has spent a reasonable percentage of his minutes with Koivu and Pominville, but, his most regular linemate has been Granlund, who, for all his good offensive play, has been somewhat of a poor puck possession player this year. Nino has spent almost 50% of his TOI with Granlund and has still produced excellent numbers.

Cal's most regular linemate has been Regin by a wide margin. He has also spent a considerable amount of time with Grabner. Both of those guys are pretty good players.

*

So, overall both players are performing pretty well in their respective roles, but Nino is certainly doing better. He has made a great start to his Wild career, and is still only 21. It's exciting to think what he could turn into over the next 2-3 years. He's playing an effective role, is not being sheltered and has been a pest around the goal crease in most games, bringing some good physical play and showing some flashes of extreme offensive ability.

Clutterbuck will be a useful bottom-6 player for the Islanders, but, most likely, he will turn out to be a poor return for a talented young forward. Garth Snow better hope that 4th round pick turns into a good NHLer to make that trade look more balanced.

I'll revisit this situation later in the year to see if these trends continue.

***

Follow me on Twitter for more hockey talk.

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