Matt Niskanen was born in Virginia, Minnesota, and played Virginia High School hockey for two seasons. He then moved to the University of Minnesota Duluth in the NCAA and spent another two years there. Niskanen was drafted in 2005 by the Dallas Stars, going 28th overall in the NHL Entry Draft. He headed to the Iowa Stars for a part of the 2006-2007 season and played 13 games on the AHL team. Niskanen was named to the 2006-2007 All WCHA first team and the All WCHA Academic team. After signing and playing his tryout contract with the Iowa Stars, Niskanen elected to sign a three-year contract with the Dallas Stars to begin in 2007-2008. He started with the club in 2007-2008, beginning a full-time schedule. Niskanen is in great athletic condition. He has great skating skills, too, and has a large offensive upside that should help his game overall. Niskanen owns all-around skills in most areas of the game, making him an ideal defenseman. He lacks bulk on his frame, though, and could use some more consistency to better prove himself at the top levels of the game. Niskanen also struggles against some of the league's larger players. He's a top four defenseman on most teams in the NHL, though, and should enjoy a great career.