From Maine to Michigan: Small Swede Could Make Big Impact
There wasn’t anything shocking about the Red Wings selecting a smallish skilled Swede late in the 2008 NHL draft. The surprise came when Gustav Nyquist announced his plans to attend the University of Maine later that year.
Nyquist, who is currently in his junior year with Maine, is taking an unconventional development path for a Swedish born player. The 21 year-old forward chose to leave home early to learn the North American game in the hopes of eventually playing at the professional level. His strong work ethic, all around game and hockey sense have helped him become a key player for the Black Bears and have all but locked up his chances at an NHL contract.
Now in his third season in the NCAA, the 5-foot-11, 170 pound left wing racked up 19 goals 61 points in 39 games last season and ended up one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award. His offensive breakout probably caused scouts across the NHL to shake their heads at yet another smallish Swedish gem uncovered by the Red Wings.
This season Nyquist’s offensive pace has slowed, but he still leads Maine with 13 goals and 36 points in 28 games. The hard working forward has stepped up his game recently racking up 7 goals in last 4 games which could be good news for the Black Bears late season push.
With a strong finish to the season and a good showing at the NCAA championship tournament this spring, the Red Wings will probably opt to sign the skilled forward later this year. While he will likely spend some time in Grand Rapids developing, the skilled forward has the potential to eventually play in the NHL. When that happens, Nyquist will join the long list of late round Red Wings draft gems who beat the odds by playing in the NHL.