If the Detroit Red Wings were hoping that Gustav Nyquist would be a quiet call up that they could simply demote when the time was right, they’ve been sorely let down. The forward was electric in his first regular season game of the 2013-14 NHL season last night, scoring two goals and propelling the Wings to their first victory since November 2.
Detroit hasn’t had issues grabbing loser points in that span of time, but they haven’t been getting it done in regulation. Nyquist made sure that the Wings finished it in 60 minutes last night as he scored two goals and was one of the better players out on the ice for either team.
That the Swede didn’t miss a beat upon being recalled shouldn’t be too surprising. He was outstanding for the Red Wings during the playoffs last year and was believed to be a shoo-in to make Detroit’s opening night roster. The team had other plans though, and Nyquist played the first seven weeks or so of the campaign in the AHL.
Nyquist continued to work hard and put up outstanding numbers for the Grand Rapids Griffins. Now it appears that he’ll be every bit as effective in the NHL, and that makes life tough for general manager Ken Holland. The team doesn’t have the cap space for Nyquist, and was only able to recall him after placing defenseman Danny DeKeyser on the LTIR with an upper-body injury.
If the Wings were looking to send him back down within the next few weeks, contests like the one against the Carolina Hurricanes last night will make that impossible for Detroit. The team’s offense was sputtering along until Nyquist was recalled, and he breathed new life into a second line that has been a major source of headaches for the Wings and their legions of followers.
Operation Free Nyquist was a success. Now it’s just a matter of finding a way to keep him.