Edmonton Oilers sign Markus Niemelainen to two-year contract extension
Photo credit:Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images
By Zach Laing10 months ago
The Edmonton Oilers have signed defencemen Markus Niemelainen to two-year extension, the club announced Thursday.
Niemelainen, 23, has appeared in 20 games this year in his first season of NHL action. While he has only notched one point, he’s been an absolute physical force on the backend.
He leads all OIlers defencemen with 18.64 hits per hour which is far and away first on the team. Not only that, but he leads all NHL defencemen that have played >260 minutes in hits per hour. The difference is stark, too.
The second-placed defenceman is Mark Borowiecki, who has laid 15.51 hits per hour.
Niemelainen’s physical play has no doubt been a breath of fresh air to the Oilers backend, which has been far too soft to play against this year. While there’s lots of room for growth in his game, he’s taken some impressive steps to show that can be a legitimate NHL option for the team down the road and as soon as he is recalled again.
The Oilers loaned him to the Bakersfield Condors last week to allow him to travel be with his wife for the birth of their child.
Niemelainen’s new deal, according to PuckPedia, pays him an AAV of $762,500. Year one of the deal is a two-way deal paying him $750,000 in the NHL, $300,000 in the minor leagues and has a guarantee of $300,000. Year two of the deal is a one-way deal paying him $775,000.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at email@example.com.
Recent articles from Zach Laing