Gustav Nyquist should be with the Detroit Red Wings right now. The only reason he’s toiling in the AHL at the moment is because the Wings are up against the cap, and the only reason they’re up against the cap is because they decided to retain the likes of Dan Cleary while adding Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson during the offseason as free agents.
While Weiss has struggled to fit in and make an impact on the top-six and Alfredsson can’t seem to find the back of the net despite his multitude of attempts, Nyquist continues to waste away in the minors. He has eight points (3 G, 5 A) through six games with the Grand Rapids Griffins and has nothing left to prove or learn in that league.
If Detroit was filling up the nets with its current lineup, then there would be justification in keeping things the way they are. The Red Wings are desperate for goals right now though, and frankly, they shouldn’t be. They have too many top-end forwards that are capable of producing at a high level.
Among those top-end forwards is Nyquist, who has patiently been biding his time in the AHL. How do the Wings reward him for his dedication and approach? By re-signing Cleary and basically giving Nyquist’s roster spot to him. There’s something to be said about loyalty to be sure. Cleary is a class act and is an example of what the Wings want the rest of their players to be like.
Yet all the class in the world isn’t going to help when you’re scoring two goals a game.
Detroit has now lost four consecutive games and hasn’t scored more than twice in that span. They should be out of excuses at this point. Rostering Mikael Samuelsson because of his handedness is stupid. Rostering Clearly for the sake of loyalty is silly. Keeping Jordin Tootoo around just because you can’t get “fair return” for the fourth-liner is not right.
Not when you have a guy like Nyquist boiling in the minors, aching for a shot in the NHL. There’s no doubt that the Wings would be better with him in the lineup than they would be with all the aforementioned players. The time has come for Ken Holland to make the necessary fat-cuts to make room for a truly special player.