Newest Capital Niskanen is pleased with team’s new direction

  • Michael Prosser

Newest Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen is pleased with the direction that Barry Trotz is taking the team (Courtesy of CBS Sports)


When the smoke cleared on July 1st, the biggest name in the  NHL Free Agency Class of 2014 had made his decision to spend the next seven years of his life in a red uniform, a move that he has since stated was one that he hasn’t regretted.

After former Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen signed a 7 year/$40.25 million deal, and with the completion of  the team’s rookie camp, Niskanen has stated that he’s very pleased with the direction that new coach Barry Trotz has the team going in.

“[We’ve] got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while and I’m really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win and that’s the most attractive thing.”

Despite the fact that the Virginia, Minnesota native is in a new town with a new team and wearing a rival uniform, there’s still parts of Pittsburgh that ultimately helped sway the 27 year old away from the Steel City and into our Nation’s Capital in the form of both Brooks Orpik, and Todd Reirden.

The 33 year old Orpik signed a 5 year deal with the Caps, a moved that was all but crucified by any analyst covering the beloved game of hockey, reuniting with former Penguins assistant Todd Reirden, another major factor in attracting Niskanen to DC.

“That was a big factor. Familiarity with him, how we work together and what he’s done for my career, building my confidence, helping me become a better player. I want to continue that.”

It’s no secret that the Capitals defense was all but dismal at most times last season, so much so that the only defenseman who had a positive +/- rating played no lest than 40 games (Steve Oleksy  played 33 games and was a +7), and the arrivals of Orpik, Niskanen, Reirdon, Trotz will surely bring an improvement to this team. The taste of missing the playoffs is bitter, and for the first time since 2007, the Washington Capitals are trying to wash that bad taste out of their mouths. Matt Niskanen believes they’ve got what it takes, do you?

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Michael Prosser

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