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Nino Niederreiter, seen battling Montreal goalie Carey Price in a game Wednesday night, is headed back to juniors. ((Graham Hughes/Canadian Press))

New York 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.