Gustav Nyquist is a Swedish forward who has been highly touted in the Red Wings prospect system. He’s well known for playing at the University of Maine, helping the Grand Rapids Griffins win the Calder Cup last year, and inspiring a semi-religious movement. What you may not know about Nyquist, however, is that he was called up towards the end of November, and he’s been with the Red Wings ever since.
If that last piece of information eluded you, it would be understandable. With five goals and 11 points in 23 games played this year, Nyquist has been a let down to say the least. There’s a number of potential reasons for this, particularly the injuries the Wings have faced this season. I happen to believe that if you are playing with Henrick freaking Zetterberg, however, much more is to be expected.
Instead of being the offensive solution everyone expected him to be, Nyquist has been largely overshadowed by Tomas Tatar this year. A former AHL all-star, Nyquist had been pointless in five games before collecting an assist in the
embarrassingly lucky victory over the Kings Saturday night. I’m certainly not the only person to notice this and one might be quick to point out that Martin St. Louis had more goals in one game than the entire Detroit Red Wings did in almost two weeks. This may be true, but Nyquist was also held off the scoreboard in the 5-1 victory over the Dallas Stars to start the month off.
Depth scoring has been an issue for this team all year, which seems to be the exact opposite of the team we saw in the playoffs last year. My ultimate desire for Nyquist is to have him on the third line with say, Helm or Andersson as a center and Tomas Tatar on the other wings. A third line like that would be deadly, and three scoring lines is incredibly difficult to defend against. Of course, this also requires the Wings to be healthy, but it also makes you wonder if a player with this much talent belongs on the third line.
I don’t know why Nyquist seems so snake-bitten this year. If the arguement is that he hasn’t played with Franzen/Datsyuk/whoever seems to help him score lately, then I’m concerned. Nyquist is supposed to be a player that’s talented enough to make plays on his own, rather than benefit from playing on the same line as superstars, unlike some other European wingers. He’s supposed to be the guy that makes the team better, not the guy made better by the team.
When the team isn’t scoring, I expect the Clearys and Millers of the world to struggle, but I players like Gustav Nyquist to step up. He was supposed to be the messiah this year after all.
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