Just hours after the Red Wings played the San Jose Sharks at Little Caesars Arena on February 24th of this year, a game in which Gus Nyquist scored. The pending unrestricted free agent was dealt to the team he scored against that same day for a second round pick in this years draft and a conditional third round pick in next years draft, which turns to a second if San Jose reaches the Stanley Cup Final, or if he resigns in San Jose. Nyquist had a no-trade clause in Detroit which made it difficult for Ken Holland to get the maximum return for him as Gus submitted a small list of teams he would waive it for. Gus made it clear he wanted to play for a competitor and he seemed to have his heart set on joining fellow swede Erik Karlsson in the Bay Area.
Gus Nyquist has had a relatively successful stint in San Jose as what we assume is a rental scoring 11 points in 19 regular season games, as well as another 11 points in the 17 playoff games San Jose has played so far. However, with San Jose’s cap situation it seems unlikely he resigns in the Bay which begs the question does new Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman bring back the fan favorite? My opinion is no, the Red Wings need to be getting younger and dumping players like Vanek and Nyquist is exactly what the team needs to rebuild successfully, and quickly. While it would be great to see Gus back in a winged wheel next season for the sake of the rebuild it just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Gus is 29 and will be entering his 9th pro season next year, he fits the bill of a team that has a missing piece in their top 6 and just missed out on playoffs or went down early like Philidelphia or the Islanders, a reunion with Tomas Tatar in Montreal could also be a good fit over coming back to the rebuilding Red Wings.
If Ken Holland was still at the helm of the Red Wings rebuild I could see a bigger chance of Gus coming back given Holland’s history with player loyalty, however Yzerman doesn’t have that same loyalty towards players especially this group of players many of which he would not have met before becoming GM on April 19th. Not to say that Yzerman is not loyal to his players, he seems to have a team first mentality that Ken Holland did not at times. It doesnt seem to be in Yzermans management style to sign players to fill the seats, he wants to create a winning team and in the long run signing Gus Nyquist back is not how that happens.
Taro Hirose is a prime example of why the Red Wings should not bring back Nyquist. Hirose came in a while after Nyquist had been dealt and he was beyond impressive in the brief time he spent with the Red Wings scoring 7 points in his first 10 NHL games. Beyond the stats Hirose looks like a fantastic playmaker with unreal hockey sense and vision, he seems to have eyes in the back of his head and always know where his teammates are on the ice. If Hirose has a good camp we should see him as an NHL regular at least to start next season. It is for this reason the Red Wings should not bring Nyquist back, if Nyquist comes back someone else has to go down to Grand Rapids or sit in the press box. With Filip Zadina, Evgeni Svechnikov, and possibly Joe Veleno all entering the fold at some point next season it is important that the Red Wings save as many roster spots as possible for the young players to come in to develop their game.
Article by Ben Lloyd (@lloyd_ben7) Cover Photo from: nhltraderumors.me