Islanders Return Top Pick Niederreiter To Juniors

Nino Niederreiter

Nino Niederreiter (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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UNIONDALE (AP) — Islanders forward Nino Niederreiter is going back to juniors.

Niederreiter, chosen with the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, was given the news Thursday that he will be returning to the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League.

The decision had to be made now that the 18-year-old center has played in nine games with the Islanders. By sending him back to Portland, the Islanders ensured his entry-level contract won’t start until next year.

Niederreiter had one goal and one assist in his brief time with the Islanders.

Last season, as a rookie with Portland, Niederreiter had 36 goals and 24 assists in 65 games, then added eight goals and eight assists in 13 postseason contests.

He also earned All-Star honors at the world junior championships when he led Switzerland with 10 points — including six goals — in 10 games.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.