RED WINGS ROSTER PREVIEW: GUSTAV NYQUIST

There are few things as enjoyable as watching the Goose get loose in Detroit. The saviour of the 2013-2014 season with 28 goals in 57 games ended up setting the bar rather high for himself. But he did manage to follow it up the next year with 27 goals and a career-high 54 points. His early seasons helped sooth concerns about secondary scoring and future replacements for the Euro Twins but last year seemed like a big step back instead of that 30 goal campaign many were expecting. There were rumblings that maybe Babcock wasn’t quite his favourite coach and maybe under Blashill his role would finally expand but the opposite ended up being true. Gross misusage and inexplicable reduction of power-play time and overall role greatly hurt Nyquist’s year and had many suggesting he would be best served as a trading chip. Regardless of where one may sit on the issue, he’s a Red Wing this coming season (unless maybe this Trouba mess gets sorted out) and they need a big year from the guy. 

PLAYER BIO

While he hails from Halmstad, Sweden, Nyquist spent most of his playing career in Malmö. After some successful runs with the Malmö Redhawks the Goose found himself getting loose in the city of Orono where he spent three seasons with the University of Maine. He led the Maine Black Bears in points each of his three seasons finishing his NCAA career with 144 points in 113 games. In 2009-2010 he led the entire NCAA in scoring and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker award. He has scored consistently at every level he’s played whether that’s NCAA, AHL or NHL which gives many fans hope that last season was just a little blip on an otherwise consistent scorer’s radar. 

The kid has the speed:

He’s definitely got the skill:

And he’s got a nose for the net like no one else on that Red Wings roster:

LAST YEARS STATS

His regression in points stopped at 43 this past season (17-26) but was still good for 4th on the team sadly. He tied for the team lead in power-play goals (7) with Tatar but was held to just a single goal in five playoff games. As laid out before though on The Wings Nation, Nyquist’s advanced stats remained phenomenal and so much of his regression can be chalked up to his lack of time on a top line or even on a second line while guys like Darren Helm saw excessive ice time with the likes of Pavel Datsyuk. Furthermore, as Abdelkader saw a massive spike in his PP time, Nyqvist’s inexplicably fell off despite his team-leading 24 power-play-points only a season earlier. Not only was his lack of ice time puzzling on a team that was desperate for goals, he’s actually been shown to drive the play himself and could have easily reduced the burden of the rapidly aging Datsyuk and Zetterberg:

Story 1

COMPARABLES

In terms of salary, Nyquist finds himself nestled in with the likes of Carl Soderberg, Jori Lehtera and Brayden Schenn. Schenn, the most successful of the three and one of the more recent signees, finds himself consistently in a top 6 role (often top line) and with excessive power-play time yet only has two more points than Nyquist over the last three seasons despite playing 23 more games. Furthermore, his advanced stats also prove not only can he hang with his comparables, but Nyquist is often better than them:

Story 1-2

 

THIS YEARS PROJECTION

Three scenarios ranked from most likely to least:

1. He gets a little bit more power-play time but is still buried down the lineup for chunks of the season. He also sees a little bit more consistency and gets his point total back up to the 50 point range but has to (inexplicably) fight for power-play time with the addition of Frans Nielsen and the fact that Thomas Vanek shoots right. He doesn’t hit 30 goals again and it’s completely the fault of the coaching staff. 

2. All the offseason talk about big changes is true. Nyquist sees himself in a top-six role all year, most of which is on the top line. He hits 30 goals and sets a career high in points. This happens only if what management says is true (most often isn’t in Detroit), someone with even a mild understanding of advanced stats is listened to (good luck) and at least one major forward is traded (Tatar). 

3. He scores 30 goals for the Winnipeg Jets or the Anaheim Ducks. 

Also in this series

Roster Preview: Darren Helm

Roster Preview: Henrik Zetterberg 

Roster Preview: Riley Sheahan