Gustav Nyquist is the Most Exciting Red Wings Rookie Since...
The last seven games haven't been the best games the Detroit Red Wings have played, but they are definitely the best seven games rookie Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist has played (1 goal, 5 assists). Wings fans should feel ecstatic because they can watch a star grow, from the age of 22, which may as well be considered an infant by Red Wings management.
Fans no longer have to keep their fingers crossed, watching Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, and Pavel Datsyuk and hope they continue to produce into their 30s. It seems the Red Wings have truly found their new "Euro-Twin". It wasn't too long ago that we were watching Zetterberg and Datsyuk when they were 23 years of age. We couldn't help but think of the endless well of talent they possessed. Watching Gustav Nyquist is like getting into a time machine and watching Hank and Pav all over again. He has the same kind of skill, skating ability, European flavour, and even the same build (5-11 185 lbs) as the Euro-Twins.
(Image: Courtesy of Yahoo Sports)
During the Wings' most recent slump, The Goose (no, not Paul Gaustad) has been recalled from Grand Rapids and has performed admirably. After playing his first block of games on the bottom two lines, he has found himself playing with Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi, and he looks right at home. We knew it was only a matter of time before he would score his first ever NHL goal, and last night it happened. He took a jaw dropping backwards-spin pass from Datsyuk, positioned his body, and angled his stick to the open part of the net. That kind of offensive savvy just doesn't carry in a bottom six forward. He has shown Babcock he deserves to stay, and that he shouldn't rot on the bottom two lines.
Just how good can Nyquist be? What is his ceiling? It wouldn't be a surprise if next year he wins the Calder trophy as the NHL's most impressive rookie. He will immediately take on a path that is similar to Henrik Zetterberg's (minus the injuries). If he can give the Wings 15 years of slick skating ability, two-way play, and a proven desire to impose his will in the playoffs - he`ll be a franchise player. Right now, even with all the hype, it feels like he could be as good as Marcus Naslund when he was leading the Canucks in scoring.
For now, it seems he will be sticking with the Wings as a black-ace through the playoffs, at the very least. He can provide an immediate boost to the top 6 if an injury occurs. Lots of Nyquist comparisons have been made to that of Darren Helm, when in 2008 he helped the Wings win a Stanley Cup while not being a part of the regular season roster (and doing the same in 2009, making it to Game 7 of the Finals). There is a certain level of comfort that is displayed when watching The Goose, and he continues to gain confidence. Whether he continues to play from here on out is up to Babcock. If he wasn't going to play in the top 6, I`d rather see him play first line minutes on the Griffins.
This is as exciting for Red Wings fans since rookie-Datsyuk was executing bank passes off the back of the net to himself, then dishing a perfect pass to Brett Hull for a goal. Even more exciting than Zetterberg's 44 point, almost-Calder trophy winning season the next year. This is more exciting because it seems the Wings have again managed to draft a star player late (121st overall). He is defying the odds - cracking the lineup before Ken Holland usually likes his players to.
Make way for the new "Euro-Triplett".
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