Defenseman Matt Niskanen doesn't want to go anywhere. In fact if the Penguins want to talk business he's all ears. Niskanen whom many expected to be traded in a salary move this summer has been an important figure in the team's 6-1-0 start and made it clear Friday he wants to stay with the Penguins. “Absolutely I do” he said. “I'm not going to bring it up with them. I don't think that's my place. But if they would come to me at some point down the road I would have a lot of interest in staying here.” Niskanen is in the final season of a two-year contract that pays him $2.3 million annually. General manager Ray Shero whose preference is to not negotiate contracts during the season declined to comment. Niskanen 26 is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and signing him to a long-term deal could be difficult for the Penguins who have approximately $18 million in salary locked into the blue line next season. The organization also has a wealth of defensive prospects in Olli Maatta Simon Despres Derrick Pouliot Scott Harrington and Brian Dumoulin — all of whom are or are close to being NHL-ready. Niskanen however hinted strongly that he would consider staying in Pittsburgh for less money than he could receive on the open market. “It obviously depends on a lot of things” Niskanen said. “But I will say that I put a big emphasis on winning. And this is a good place to be for that.” Niskanen a slick puck-moving defenseman who can play the left or right side could command significant money on the open market. He largely credits assistant coach Todd Reirden with resurrecting his career after a streaky start in Dallas. He also makes it no secret that he loves the Penguins and Pittsburgh.
Niskanen says he'd like to stay in Pittsburgh for long haul
Pittsburgh Tribune Review | Oct 19