When the Nashville Predators finished with the fourth-worst record in the entire National Hockey League a season ago, head coach Barry Trotz said a priority in the offseason would be to add more sandpaper to the lineup. Signing Eric Nystrom to a four-year deal worth $10 million was a key component to the Predators’ attempts at making the team a more difficult opponent to play against.
Being just one of several new faces in the locker room during training camp, the 30-year old has enjoyed his time in the Music City thus far.
“It is awesome. Everyone has been so accommodating,” the veteran forward said. “There are a lot of new guys here. Everyone is getting along real well. Obviously, when we put the skates on we are pushing each other and are kind of enemies, but in the room everyone has been awesome.”
Viktor Stalberg, Matt Cullen, Matt Hendricks, and Carter Hutton also signed with Nashville on July 5, the first day of the free agency period. Though the Syosset, N.Y., native was signed to a lengthy contract, he doesn’t take having a roster spot for granted.
“There are some young kids chomping at the bit at your heels so you need to come in and make an impact. It’s just exciting. That first day, the butterflies are there. You are nervous. It’s a good feeling,” Nystrom explained.
With his friendly demeanor, it is no surprise that Nystrom has been fitting in well with his new teammates.
“These guys are rock solid guys. It is hard to find a bad hockey player around the League. I’m loving it so far. I went over to Shea’s house and watched some football with Pekka. The guys are so welcoming. It has been great,” he said.
Having played all 48 games during the lockout shortened season as a member of the Dallas Stars organization, Nystrom had seven goals and four assists for 11 points. The former first-round draft pick also played with the Minnesota Wild and Calgary Flames.