Ed. Note: From August 21st through September 16th, we will be providing previews for each player for the 2013-14 season. Today, we continue with Eric Nystrom…
|Eric Nystrom’s last 3 seasons|
2012-13 in review:
When the Predators didn’t make the postseason last season, head coach Barry Trotz said that one of the main goals of the organization was to add more sandpaper to make the team more difficult to play against. Enter Eric Nystrom.
Nystrom played last season with the Dallas Stars before signing a four-year, $10 million deal with the Predators in the offseason. The left wing is a solid depth player who competed in all 48 games last season despite being known as a tough opponent to play against, and as a player who knows how to wrack up penalty minutes (61 PIM). The only other Stars to play in every game of the lockout-shortened season were Stephane Robidas, Loui Eriksson, Cody Eakin and Brenden Dillon.
The 30-year old posted seven goals (three of them game-winners) and added four assists for 11 points on the season. He was a minus-3 and dished out 122 hits. One memorable moment for Nystrom against the Predators was when he and Ryan Ellis fought to what HockeyFights.com called a draw on Mar. 12. As bad blood grew between Dallas and Nashville, Nystrom also dropped the gloves with former Predator Brandon Yip.
Burning question for 2013-14: Will Nystrom prove to be a necessary addition?
Only July 5, the Predators signed five unrestricted free agents. If the goal was to make the Preds more difficult to play against, it is hard to argue Nystrom would not help in that regard. However, also signing Matt Hendricks as well as re-signing Rich Clune to a two-year deal, was a four-year term at $2.5 million per season a bit much for Nystrom’s services?
The Predators have a serious logjam at the forward position, and players who seemingly earned a roster spot by solid play on a struggling team (read: Beck, Taylor) will find themselves starting the season in Milwaukee – again. Players like Beck and Filip Forsberg and Craig Smith are expected to score goals. Nystrom is expected to make the Preds more difficult to play against. Can he find the back of the net enough to make his addition a necessary one?
Nystrom came into his own the last couple of seasons with the Stars. He notched a career-high 16 goals and added five assists during the 2011-12 season. That kind of tertiary scoring carried over into the shortened season, as his seven goals were a 12-goal pace over 82 games. Nystrom could very well prove to be a good addition as a third- or fourth-line winger – for this season at least – if his production doesn’t dip and he proves to fit the Predator Hockey mold.