Nino Niederreiter has made a strong case to get more playing time, but he's stopping short of demanding a heavier workload.
The Minnesota Wild forward gave a thoughtful, professional answer Monday when asked whether he deserves an increase in ice time after producing a career season that netted him a new five-year contract.
"I feel like I was ready last year," Niederreiter told Michael Russo of the Star Tribune. "As a player, you feel like you're always ready to play more and get more ice time. But that's the coach's job and I can only control what I can control. I think that's something which I learned early on in my career that too much thinking is not going to do anything good. I've got to do the best I can with the ice time I get. I'm going to prepare myself to get more minutes this year, and if that's the case, then great. And if not, I'll just do whatever I can to be great in the minutes I get."
Niederreiter finished third on the Wild with 25 goals and ranked fourth with 57 points despite playing only 15:04 per game last season, a figure that placed him seventh among Minnesota forwards with at least 21 games played.
The 24-year-old parlayed his career-best single-season production into a $26.25-million deal that will keep him under contract until 2021-2022, while the new pact does not include a no-trade clause.
Niederreiter has improved from a point-production standpoint in each of his four seasons with the Wild after being acquired from the Islanders in a trade for grinder Cal Clutterbuck in the summer of 2013.
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