Much like Joonas Donskoi, Gustav Nyquist was going to be a cap casualty in San Jose. It seemed almost certain anyway after they acquired him down the stretch but regardless, Nyquist was going to find a new home this summer.
Nyquist found his new home as the Columbus Blue Jackets signed him to a four-year deal with an average annual value of $5.5M.
What Columbus gets
I will admit that I’m much higher on Nyquist than most people seem to be. It’s likely due to expectations. He exploded on the scene with 28 goals and 48 points in 57 games in his first full-ish season, which helped push the Red Wings to the playoffs down the stretch. He followed that up with 27 goals and 54 points in his first full season and seemed well on his way to being an elite scoring winger. He then posted three consecutive sub-50-point seasons before finally reaching 60 for the first time in 2018-19.
Nyquist is good in transition, being able to both carry the puck and find his line mates when it’s necessary to do either. He has very good hands and vision in the offensive zone, as evidenced by him being tied with Matt Duchene in primary assist rate over the last three years. Keep in mind that Nyquist didn’t often play with Dylan Larkin in Detroit, skating instead with Henrik Zetterberg. While Zetterberg was still solid at the end of his career, he wasn’t a goal scorer and he was battling back problems. Nyquist’s vision and skills, then, would probably work a lot better with someone like Cam Atkinson than someone like Zetterberg.
There is also the defensive side of the puck, where Nyquist lags, relatively speaking. It’s not to say that he’s poor defensively, n