The Philadelphia Flyers were left in a bind when Matt Niskanen unexpectedly retired after last season. On October 5th, 2020, Niskanen announced that he was retiring from the NHL.
Well, technically retiring.
Niskanen never filed retirement paperwork after announcing that he was retiring. He still had one year left on his contract, so he was suspended without pay for cap management purposes.
There was some speculation that Niskanen could return to play, but that isn’t the case.
A source close to Matt Niskanen confirmed to Philly Hockey Now that the defenseman is indeed retired, regardless of his paper status.
Matt Niskanen certainly would’ve helped the Flyers last season –– hell, he couldn’t have hurt them ––, but alas. His contract expired at the end of last season and the defenseman doesn’t plan on returning to play.
The Flyers acquired Niskanen on June 14, 2019 from the Washington Capitals for Radko Gudas. Niskanen formed a strong top pair with Ivan Provorov in the 2019-20 season.
Niskanen helped the Flyers to a 41-21-7 record in 69 regular-season games. The team then earned the No. 1 seed after going undefeated in the round-robin tournament. Unfortunately, Niskanen’s season (and career) ended in the second round of the playoffs at the hands of the New York Islanders.
After missing Niskanen’s presence last season, Chuck Fletcher made a few big changes this offseason. He added two right-handed defensemen in Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen to shore up the defense.
Niskanen, 34, played in 949 career games for four different teams across his 13 seasons. He played in 140 career playoff games on top of that. Niskanen won the Stanley Cup in 2018 with the Washington Capitals.
Photo: Heather Barry Images