The Red Wings are a team known for their reliance on veteran players. The recently drafted and younger players are often relegated for duty with Detroit’s AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, to gain experience before making it full time with the big club. That approach was no different for Gustav Nyquist.
Nyquist has been a regular in the National Hockey League for less than a calendar year despite being drafted in 2008. But now that he’s a full time member of the Red Wings, he’s making the most of his opportunity.
Having played hockey in his native Sweden from a young age, Nyquist chose to further his career in the NCAA, playing for the Maine Black Bears and amassing 144 total points in three years. His play also earned him a nomination for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top NCAA hockey player. But after leaving the Bears to sign a two year entry level contract with the Red Wings, he was immediately assigned to Grand Rapids to further his development.
Fast forward to 2013
Nyquist had showed signs of promise during brief call-ups. But once the 2013-14 Season started, Nyquist again found himself in Grand Rapids rather than on Detroit’s opening night roster. It was only after injuries to their regulars that Nyquist was once again called up. He scored less than a minute into his first game back, and later scored on a breakaway in the third period.
All of Gustav Nyquist’s goals from the 2013/14 season
Safe to say, this call up would be permanent – and was it ever. Nyquist would finish the season with 28 goals, good for best on the team. His scoring prowess also helped the Red Wings secure a 23rd consecutive playoff berth, after their first half of the season was riddled with inconsistency and injuries.
This season, he’s picked up right where last season left off, scoring a goal in each of the first four games, and currently sitting at seven goals in 12 games. But what’s more impressive is that since January 20, Nyquist has outscored NHL superstars Alex Ovechkin and Corey Perry, last season’s leading goal scorers.
Nyquist wears jersey #14, which Red Wings fans still largely associate with Brendan Shanahan – and you can’t blame them. Shanahan scored 309 goals for Detroit and played huge roles in the Stanley Cup championship teams of 1997, 1998, and 2002 – a solid legacy and a permanent fixture in Red Wings history.
But as Nyquist continues to establish himself as a rising NHL star, fans will soon begin to think of “Gus” rather than “Shanny” when talking about #14 in red and white.