Is Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist the most underrated player in the NHL in 2014?
There is no denying the fact that if it weren’t for Gustav ‘Goose’ Nyquist the Red Wings would be in a vastly different position at this stage of the season. With injuries to star players Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit needed someone to step up and fill the void left by these two big shoes. Enter Gustav Nyquist, picked in the 4th round (121st overall), 2008 NHL Draft. He played the last 3 seasons with the farm team Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL and occasionally played for Detroit due to an injury or another player’s performance. Biding his time with the Griffins, he has proven his worth for the defending AHL Champions time and time again.
In the 2013/14 season however, it has seen him be a regular starter for Detroit. It wasn’t all parades and parties for Nyquist though, he managed to amass only 9 pts in 16 games entering the new year. This was anything but spectacular. It was mid January and leading into the Olympic break that the ‘goose’ got going. He was placed on various line combinations until Coach Mike Babcock found his perfect match. Veteran players in Johan Franzen and David Legwand (who was transferred from Nashville during the trade window) supported him and gave him the confidence with the puck he looked like he had been lacking to date. He has since put up incredible numbers so much so that the NHL recognised him as the ‘NHL First Star Of The Week’ last week.Embed from Getty Images
From January 18th to the end of February 2014, he put up 17 pts in 13 games with a +7 rating to boot. This got media pundits head’s turning and everyone started wanting a piece of Nyquist. Queue the month of March. 18 pts in 15 games including crucial goals against Toronto, Pittsburgh and Minnesota in situations that looked dire for Detroit’s playoff hopes. The question here is, where to next for this kid? Can he keep this sort of form up for the remainder of the regular season to help Detroit make its 23rd straight playoff appearance?
My gut instincts scream yes. Not since Sergei Fedorov and Pavel Datsyuk when they burst onto the scene have we seen this type of potential really materialize in front of us in a short amount of time. We all knew he had exceptional talent growing up, that’s why the scouting staff here in Detroit are some of the best in the business, they have a knack for getting the young hopeful superstars.
Here is the video of his highlight reel goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning two days ago.
One of the most sensational goals I have seen all season long. Next up an ‘Original 6’ match-up against the NHL leading Boston Bruins. If he can manage to keep his pts scoring streak going, the time would be now against the Bruins.