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Matt Niskanen stays with Pittsburgh

07/04/2012, 5:54pm CDT
By MN Hockey Hub

Former Virginia standout defenseman rewarded for strong season with Penguins


Matt Niskanen

Following his first full season in Pittsburgh, Matt Niskanen has signed a two-year, $4.6 million contract with the Penguins.
 
A 2005 graduate of Virginia High School, Niskanen led Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl to its first state tournament appearance and was named a finalist for the Mr. Hockey Award.
 
He was drafted in the first round, 28th overall, of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars, who traded him to Pittsburgh on Feb. 21, 2011, as part of a deal for another Minnesotan, Grands Rapids' Alex Goligoski.
 
Niskanen played two seasons at Minnesota-Duluth, where he was a first-team All-Western Collegiate Hockey Association selection in 2007, before embarking on his professional career, which has seen him play five seasons in the NHL.
 
"Matt is just another example that staying home is every bit as good a plan as leaving early," Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association president Ken Pauly said. "At a time when people were telling him to leave for junior or go to Ann Arbor, he stayed in Virginia and led his team to a state tournament and became a Mr. Hockey finalist.

"He left a legacy. His professional success speaks volumes for anyone who is paying attention."

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