It's been a month and change since the Penguins traded Alex Goligoski for James Neal and Matt Niskanen. Since they've joined the lineup, the team has gone 9-3-3. During that span, Niskanen has appeared in 13 games and has scored a goal and an assist.
On Saturday, Niskanen discussed his first month in Pittsburgh, his individual game and trying to figure out Western Pennsylvania's unique landscape.
How has the first month been since the trade?
"It’s gone by fast. Things happened quick with the trade and we had a lot of games early. The transaction been going well though. Been getting used to everybody, staff, coaches, players especially. Everybody has been very welcoming so far."
What have been your highlights since the trade?
"It was nice getting my first goal of the year. We’ve won some close games. The Boston game where we won in overtime was really exciting. Just winning those tight games. We’ve won a few in a shootout in a row. It’s been a lot of fun."
What part of your game do you need to improve now that you're a little bit more integrated to this team?
"I’m always looking to improve my puck play. Get more shots. Being involved up the ice. Better execution with passes up neutral ice. Another thing I’ve always focused on in improving is the defensive game. Getting strong in corners, winning puck battles and it out of our end quick. "
Was there a benefit in being traded with Neal and re-joining a former Stars teammate in Chris Conner?
"Yeah for the first couple of days. To ask questions on what’s going on with meetings and places and directions and things like that. But everyone has gone out of their way to help us. But it help that James came with me and knowing Chris a little bit."
Have you figured how to get around the city yet?
"Learning more about the restaurants. I’ve been to quite a few different places which is good. Getting around the city, I can’t figure out these roads. There’s hills and tunnels and bridges and one-ways I can’t figure out… yet. But I’m starting to get a grasp on where are things are a little bit. I can get to the rink and to Southepointe (practice facility). And maybe the airport. I got lost going to the airport the other day. It’s an adjustment but it’s fun learning a new city. The people here are really nice. It’s been fun getting used to it."
Have you paid attention to the Stars since the trade?
"I certainly don’t worry about it but I’d be lying if I say I didn’t take a glance at the standings or see some highlights on TV. Mixed feeling on how they’re going to do I guess. It’s something you pay attention to but don’t worry about too much."
(Photos: First-Christian Petersen/Getty Images; Second-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images; Third-Structurae)