Player review: Matt Niskanen


Yet another player preview for you. You can check out the others on the Stars' blog.

Today's player: Matt Niskanen

Niskanen, 23, was the Stars' first-round pick (28th overall) in 2005 and was considered a player with good upside. This was the season -- his third in the NHL -- that the Stars' front office and coaching staff expected to see more of that potential.

Niskanen led all defeseman in points last season and made strides. But in 2009-10, Niskanen struggled to find consistency. He had 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists) in 74 games for the Stars with a minus-15 rating.

His ice time decreased by nearly five minutes, dropping to just over 15 minutes per game. And his confidence seemed to decrease with it. At times, he appeared to be unsure of when to go after pucks and where to go with the play. He had turnover issues and was shoved off the puck too often.

Can Niskanen rebound in 2010-11? To do that, he has to regain confidence. A hard-working summer to build strength might help that. And I'm sure Niskanen will do just that. Could he be traded? Sure, if the right deal comes along. But I can't think his value is particularly high. The Stars might be better off seeing what he can do to start next season.

What do you think the Stars will do with Niskanen? What do you expect from him next season?