I waited as long as I possibly could before writing this article, but now it’s time.
The Detroit Red Wings need to recall Gustav Nyquist from the Grand Rapids Griffins.
At the start of the season I agreed that keeping Nyquist in the AHL was the right decision. The Red Wings had too many experienced forwards and not enough salary cap space to make room for him. A month into the season and that point is still valid, especially with Darren Helm on the verge of rejoining the team.
So what’s different now compared to the start of the season? The veterans aren’t preforming like expected.
Here are their statistics after 13 games –
Daniel Alfredsson: 13 games played, 3 goals, 8 assists, +1 +/-
Johan Franzen: 12 games played, 2 goals, 3 assists, -1
Todd Bertuzzi: 13 games played, 3 goals, 1 assists, -3
Daniel Cleary: 13 games played, 1 goal, 1 assist, +1
Mikael Samuelsson: 4 games played, 1 goal, 0 assists, 0
Drew Miller: 13 games played, 1 goal, 0 assists, -4
Jordin Tootoo: 7 games played, 0 goals, 0 assists, -3
Sure it’s a small sample size but still, those numbers for Cleary, Samuelsson, Miller, and Tootoo aren’t good enough to keep Gustav Nyquist waiting for his next opportunity.
Nyquist, during the first 13 games of his career, had a goal and 5 assists and he put those numbers up by playing an average of 10 minutes a night. Also, in the 8 games Nyquist has played with Grand Rapids Griffins this season he has scored 5 goals and tallied 5 assists. There is no question he is ready to take the next step and rejoin the Red Wings again.
The reward is starting to outweigh the risk in the Nyquist dilemma. The pro: The Wings get their most promising prospect to help the team score goals. The con: A veteran leader gets replaced; either through the waiver wire or by being traded.
The Red Wings are struggling to score and Samuelsson, Miller, and Tootoo aren’t helping. While I know they are role players and aren’t expected to score very often, they’re not being productive regardless.
How many role players do the Red Wings really need?
The organization seems to think the more the merrier. It’s hard to blame them considering the Red Wings have arguably the best management staff in all of professional sports.
But, times are changing. The game is getting faster and more physical. This heavily favors the younger generation of players entering into the league and makes experience not as valuable as it once was.
There’s my case as to why it’s time for Gustav Nyquist to pull back on the winged wheel. But don’t get your hopes up. The odds are that the Red Wings will continue their love affair with the abundance of veteran role players until one of them gets seriously injured.
That’s just how the Red Wings’ organization operates and it’s hard to question their decisions given what they have accomplished over the past two decades.
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