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At least one Swedish Red Wings prospect has his [stuff] together

Red Wings director of European scouting Hakan Andersson told RedWingsCentral’s Matthew Wuest that the Wings plan on re-signing Dick Axelsson to retain his rights in case Axelsson gets his “stuff” together and chooses to come over to the NHL, but while the mercurial forward is playing a large role in Farjestads BK’s playoff push, he also remains incredibly inconsistent, sometimes ridiculously immature and generally a player whose tremendous potential is the only reason that his swings in play thanks to his swings in mood are worth putting up with.

As the Grand Rapids Press’s Michael Zuidema suggests, the Wings recently signed a very different kind of prospect in former University of Maine Black Bears and second-time Hobey Baker Award nominee Gustav Nyquist, who’s already did his homework before making an educated decision to place his college education on hold to join the Grand Rapids Griffins. Nyquist already admits that he knows that he faces a long learning curve in terms of going from playing against 18-to-24-year-olds to playing against grizzled pro veterans, but he tells Zuidema that, after two dominant years at Maine, it was time for a player who’s temporarily wearing #6 (Nyquist wore #89 in college, but the Griffins prefer that their players stick to lower numbers) to take the next step in working very hard to attempt to achieve his dream of playing in the NHL:

“It’s always tough. It’s been unbelievable for me the past three years, I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done,” he said. “It was tough to leave all my teammates up there, but I feel like I needed a new challenge, hockey-wise. My biggest dream has always been to play pro hockey.”

Griffins coach Curt Fraser said Nyquist’s arrival gave the team a jolt of energy, and the rookie stood out immediately on the ice.

“He’s got everything. Skilled, fast, real good playmaker,” Fraser said. “I don’t think you’re one of the top players in college hockey by accident, and this kid did it for three years straight. He was a welcome addition to our team.”

Nyquist took shifts on the power play in his first two games, and he will continues to see plenty of ice time in the Griffins’ final six games of the regular season. In all likelihood, Nyquist will spend next season with the Griffins. Fraser said it will take Nyquist some time to adjust to the pro game. Once he does, though, it may not be long until Nyquist is wearing the Winged Wheel in Detroit.

“He’s a gifted player. He does some real good things, but he’s a young man,” Fraser said. “College hockey and the American League are a lot differ

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Neznarf's avatar

Reeeeeally hoping hat trick dick can get his “stuff” together. The kid sounds great, however he could become a whipping boy very fast here in Detroit if he were to remain inconsistent.  Detroit fans don’t deal with that very well.

Posted by Neznarf on 03/30/11 at 06:30 PM ET

Crater's avatar

So, do we know why it is that The Griffins prefer their players to stay in the low numbers? That strikes me as odd.

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 03/30/11 at 07:03 PM ET


Yup, whipping boy is right.  Wings fans aren’t known for patience.  Just ask Sammy, Lilja, Leino, Lebda, etc.  Always at least one whipping boy a season.  This year, Franzen.  Not sue what you so-called fans want.  27 goals at 3.9M fine by me.  And sure wish we had a right-hand shot on PP like Sammy, or a 19G, 33A @ 800k performer like Leino, best rookie scorer EVER in playoffs.

Posted by jkm2011 on 03/30/11 at 08:13 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I don’t know why the Griffins like lower numbers, but Iliari Filppula would prefer to wear #81, not #15, Nyquist wants #89 and I believe there are at least a couple of players who’ve grumbled quietly about not being able to wear their favorite number over 30 because they’re not goaltenders.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/30/11 at 08:45 PM ET

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.