Agent Still Quiet on Niederreiter

Kevin Schultz

Okay, so it’s not the Manti Te’o Fake Girlfriend case. At the moment it’s not even a hugely pressing issue in Islanders Country, especially with the Islanders competing well. But five days later the story is no one’s imagination, and with Nino Niederreiter refusing to put out the fire after his agent asked the Islanders to trade him, there are still plenty of questions.

Point Blank sent an email to Andre Rufener, Niederreiter’s Switzerland-based agent, in hopes of finding out why the smile came off Nino’s face and how this week’s episode could come to an end.

Rufener politely declined.

“I’m sorry, but I’m not making any comments at this point on the Niederreiter trade request,” responded Rufener. He added that he hoped we understood his position. We wish we could understand it.

Among our questions for Ruefener that weren’t answered:

- Are there other reasons for the trade request, besides the Islanders not having him at camp earlier this month? If so, could you explain?
– Are you at all concerned about the effect this week’s news could have on Nino’s reputation?
– If the Islanders do not trade Nino by the upcoming offseason, what are your next steps?
– If the Islanders call up Nino this season to play in the NHL and give him a chance, will all be forgiven?
– Do you not agree that the NYI gave Nino a fair chance last season (and paid him NHL money), and that they really want him to develop in the AHL for a year?
– Is there anything else that you would like Islanders fans to understand about this situation?

A source close to the situation has confirmed to Point Blank that Niederreiter, although feeling awkward about how this saga played out, stands 100 percent behind Rufener and his decision to request a trade. He knew the request was going to be made and agreed with it. We also know that GM Garth Snow — short of being blown away (unlikely at this juncture of the season and Nino’s young, down-and-up career) — will not trade the promising power forward.

Hopefully Andre Rufener will explain himself via the North America media outlet of his choice (he did an interview with a Swiss outlet earlier this week but has declined to provide further detail to Newsday, ESPN, IPB and others on this side of the Atlantic). More importantly, the agent should clear the air with Islanders management as soon as possible. Niederreiter is too talented, and too fine a young man, to have this hanging over him. Rufener does not want to answer any questions, which is his right. Hopefully he knows what he’s doing.