In any other context, there would be a lot more praise of this addition to the Columbus Blue Jackets roster.
The context is one that the Blue Jackets just lost arguably their three best players to free agency. Winger Gustav Nyquist is no identical replacement to Matt Duchene or Artemi Panarin offensively or the value of Sergei Bobrovsky, but there’s no need to look at it through that lens.
It’s not fair to Nyquist, or to a Columbus team who is still one of the youngest clubs in the league. They’re heading into a new era, and it’s best to wipe the slate clean.
So, in this new era, the first and biggest move thus far has been bringing in Nyquist. What do we know about him, and what should we expect him to bring to the boys in blue?
First, let's take a look at his 2018-2019 season, his best to date:
Nyquist came into the league as a fourth-round draft pick for the Detroit Red Wings in 2008 but didn't crack the roster until the 2011-2012 season. This was an era when the Red Wings refused to accept a rebuild following their 2008 championship season, and young talent arising like Nyquist and Tomas Tatar only solidified the organization’s thought process.
By the age of 24, Nyquist was hitting the 45-50 point mark consistently. He was an all-around offensive talent, being able to generate scoring chances as well as put the puck in the net himself. In his last six seasons totaling to 460 games, Nyquist has racked up 127 goals and 166 assists, hitting just about .65 points per game.
More than halfway through this past season, Nyquist was traded to the San Jose Sharks as a part of the team's big Stanley Cup push. Thanks to his 11 points in 19 regular-season games for the Sharks, he hit a career-high of 60 points for the whole year.
Nyquist is now at 29 years of age and will be 30 come September, and is certainly still in the prime of his career. His four-year deal he signed with Columbus on Monday was team-friendly in regards to cost and keeping his growing age in mind.
Offensively, losing the likes of Panarin and Duchene isn't irreplaceable, but for a market like Columbus, it's a difficult draw for free agents such as them to come to join the Blue Jackets.
“He (Nyquist) was excited about this opportunity," said GM Jarmo Kekalainen on Monday after the signing. "I don’t think any of the players who departed had anything against Columbus. Sometimes people make life choices on different things that interest them."
So, while the team is licking its wounds from those departures, Nyquist will hopefully provide a heavy offensive contribution playing alongside players such as Cam Atkinson, Josh Anderson and Pierre-Luc Dubois.
In fact, Brian Hedger of The Columbus Dispatch gave us a little insight of what we could see come this October:
#CBJ lines (Hedger spitballin' edition):— Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) July 1, 2019
Foligno - Jenner - Anderson - Bjorkstrand - Wennberg - Bemstrom
Nyquist doesn't need to try and fill the shoes of Duchene and Panain. He adds solid firepower to an already-deep 12 forwards for the Blue Jackets that will hope to come back with vengeance this fall, with already low expectations from media and fans.
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