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Nino Niederreiter still values Islander years

Minnesota Wild's Nino Niederreiter, left, of Switzerland, gets

Minnesota Wild's Nino Niederreiter, left, of Switzerland, gets tripped up by New York Islanders' Johnny Boychuk during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, in St. Paul, Minn. Credit: AP / Jim Mone

St. PAUL, Minnesota — Nino Niederreiter is a long ways from his Islander days, in the middle of his fourth season with the Wild after the fifth pick in the 2010 draft was dealt to Minnesota for Cal Clutterbuck on draft day in 2013.

But even though his brief and unhappy Islander days are a long way in the rearview mirror — Niederreiter’s agent requested a trade when his client was not brought to camp for the shortened 2012-13 season — he takes no delight in seeing the Isles struggle while his Wild team came into Thursday’s game on an 11-game win streak.

“Not at all,” Niederreiter said. “I still have a few friends there, though if you look at the team now there’s not a lot of guys left from when I was there. It’s definitely a different team. But you never want to be happy if a team isn’t doing well. I still have friends there, some great memories, I learned a lot over there. It’s always a part of myself.”

Entering the final year of a three-year deal, Niederreiter is playing like someone due for a sizable raise from the $3.5 million he’s making. The 24-year-old came into Thursday’s game with nine goals and 13 assists.

“It was a while ago but you always remember the team that drafted you, played your first NHL game with,” he said. “It would have been nice if it worked out there but I’m happy where I am now. Things are going well.”

Cizikas working way back

Casey Cizikas (upper body) did some more on-ice work Thursday morning and Jack Capuano said Cizikas could have a chance to return Saturday in Winnipeg. Thursday’s game was the sixth straight Cizikas has missed and the Isles have used the same 12 forwards in all six.

Adam Pelech is also on the trip but has yet to make his return from an upper-body injury that put him out since Nov. 30. Stephen Gionta is technically the only healthy extra skater on the trip.

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