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Islanders send 18-year-old centre Nino Niederreiter back to juniors

New York Islanders' Nino Niederreiter, left, slides in on Montreal Canadiens' goaltender Carey Price during first period NHL hockey action in Montreal, Wednesday, October 27, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

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New York Islanders' Nino Niederreiter, left, slides in on Montreal Canadiens' goaltender Carey Price during first period NHL hockey action in Montreal, Wednesday, October 27, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

UNIONDALE, N.Y. - Islanders forward Nino Niederreiter is going back to the Western Hockey League.

Niederreiter, chosen with the No. 5 pick in this year's draft, was given the news Thursday that he will be returning to the Portland Winterhawks.

The decision had to be made now that the 18-year-old centre has played in nine games with the Islanders. By sending him back to Portland, the Islanders ensured his entry-level contract won't start until next year.

Niederreiter had one goal and one assist in his brief stint with the Islanders.

Last season, as a rookie with Portland, Niederreiter had 36 goals and 24 assists in 65 games, then added eight goals and eight assists in 13 post-season contests.

He also earned all-star honours at the world junior championship when he led Switzerland with 10 points—including six goals—in 10 games.

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