Matt Niskanen has always been one of the more reserved Capitals’ players. We remember when he first came to Washington in 2014 after a successful career with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Capitals announced Friday that they traded the defenseman to the Flyers for Radko Gudas.
He was a bit overwhelmed by the fans that first summer as they stopped him for pictures and autographs. It wasn’t long though before he warmed up to the fans and became a part of the Caps family and a star player for the team.
It is always a little awkward when someone from your number one rival teams joins the roster. Nisky had just completed one of his best seasons with the Pens, playing in 81 games and recording 10 goals and 36 assists (46 points) for what still ranks as his best season in the NHL.
His best season, except for the 2017/18 season when he was a major contributor to the Capitals success in beating the Blue Jackets, the Pens, the Lightning, and finally the Vegas Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup. He played in all 24 games scoring one goal with eight helpers. He came back with the team and his family to settle in before the start of then summer of celebration!
Niskanen was the guy the team could rely on to block shots and help Braden Holtby protect the net. As a partner, he was inspirational to Dmitry Orlov and helped him to improve his game. He was the one the Caps turned to on the penalty kill. Like Brooks Orpik, he brought a maturity to the locker room and he will bring that to the Flyers as well.
We wish him all the best. We don’t look forward to seeing the Caps playing against him. We hope the 32-year old from Minnesota and his family are welcomed and cared for in Philadelphia. He will be missed for sure.