Pittsburgh Penguins Sign Matt Nieto to 2-Year Deal

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed forward Matt Nieto to a two-year contract worth $900,000 a season. At 5-foot-11, 187 pounds, Nieto brings depth to the Pens’ wing. This will be Nieto’s third team in the NHL after spending time with the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche through ten seasons, having swapped between the two twice.

Nieto was reportedly going to the Edmonton Oilers on a two-year deal, but there was a last-minute change, and he will now join the Penguins.

Nieto was a deadline acquisition for the Colorado Avalanche last season as they attempted to go on a deep playoff run, but unfortunately, their run was cut short. He finished the season with 12 goals and 12 assists for 24 points through 81 games between the two teams. He is a consistent 20-30 point scorer and has always provided solid play in a depth role for contending teams.

Nieto was drafted 47th overall by the San Jose Sharks in the 2011 NHL Entry draft and made his NHL debut in the 2013-14 season. He spent his junior career with Boston University in the NCAA before making the jump to the professional level with the Sharks and scored 44 goals and added 58 assists for 102 points through 115 games in his time with BU.

Related: THW’s 2023 Free Agent Tracker

Through ten full seasons in the NHL, Nieto has played 651 games and has scored 85 goals, and added 114 assists for 199 points, which comes out to a 0.31 points-per-game average. He has gained popularity amongst fans as a speedy and gritty hard-working winger that adds the depth scoring a team wants and needs in order to be considered a Stanley Cup contender.

Matt Nieto San Jose Sharks
Matt Nieto, San Jose Sharks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Nieto has never stood out offensively by any means, but he has earned his keep with his strong defensive play and speed to be able to keep up with some of the best of the best and has been used as a player that coaches put up against offensive lines to shut them down.

Nieto’s Fit With The Penguins

The Penguins missed the playoffs for the first time in 16 seasons, so they will be looking to change things up and make it back to the playoffs next season. Nieto plays the depth role well, and it was evident wherever he played. He easily translated his game from the NCAA to the NHL and hasn’t slowed down since.

Nieto is exactly the kind of player a contending team would want. He was brought in as a piece to help the Avalanche with a Stanley Cup run, so the Penguins will be hoping he can give them just enough of a push to get them back into contention. The Penguins don’t have many strong prospects in their pipeline ready to go for next season, and they aren’t willing to rebuild with their core there for only a couple more seasons, so this is a smart veteran signing to help try and push them over the hump.

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