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The Malik Report

‘Gus’ In A Slump

Ansar Khan of Mlive on the slumping Nyquist,

Gustav Nyquist has gone cold after a hot start with the Detroit Red Wings.

The best way for him to heat up is to shoot more and get on the inside.

“You don’t get any points in the league for style, you have to get the puck to the net,” coach Mike Babcock said. “So when you’re a pure passer and you don’t feel that’s your job you never shoot the puck.

“Most guys with lots of assists got it by passing it off the goalie; that isn’t part of his repertoire yet. We’re working on that. He’s working on that.”

continued

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Comments

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At a listed 5-11 170 (which means 5-9 155-160) Nyquist is going to struggle to be effective inside just based on simple mass and strength.  Where he’s going to have to get his points is in making plays up in traffic, because he’s primarily a playmaker.

If he was a burner he’d have a higher goalscoring ceiling, but he’s not, so he doesn’t.  On a team like Detroit that doesn’t have a strong offensive blueline the forwards have to do a lot more of the heavy lifting in setting up scoring chances, which makes it that much harder for the less natural goalscorers to find some meat.

The thing that should worry people about Nyquist, meaning the people who thought (goofily IMO but alas) he’d be scoring 20-30 a year is that even though the teams been hurt Nyquist himself has had really beneficial linemates this year.  Franzen, Z and Alfredsson populate 6 of Nyquist’s 8 most common linemates.

Based on what’s been seen of him so far, I’m sticking by by initial assessment of his overall game: Essentially Filppula’s offense, just without Filppula’s defense.  15ish goals per 82, 40ish points per 82.

Third line ceiling.  Maybe a second line short term fill in.  Hudler-lite.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/14/14 at 08:45 PM ET

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So Nyquist hasn’t even played 82 games in the NHL yet, but you have him pegged HiD?  Good to know.  I don’t recall people wanting him up because he was going to set the world on fire with points, but because there was nothing more for him to learn in the AHL and he needed NHL minutes.  Still way too early to tell if he’s going to end up a 40 point guy or a 60+ point guy.

Posted by Valek from Chicago on 01/14/14 at 09:13 PM ET

maltby18's avatar

Right, we’d be better off waiving him and giving those minutes to Sammy.

Posted by maltby18 on 01/14/14 at 09:41 PM ET

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So Nyquist hasn’t even played 82 games in the NHL yet, but you have him pegged HiD? 

I don’t think you quite get the whole thing with ‘assessing talent’.  Are you under the impression that an assessment of talent is a statement of fact?  You assess players based on what you’ve seen, what you know, and what you expect.  Is it impossible that Nyquist turns into a 25 goal 80 point wunderkind who buttresses the Wings offense for a decade?

Of course not.

Based on what I’ve seen of Nyquist at the NCAA, AHL and NHL levels, however, I sort of doubt it.  I don’t think he’s as bad as he’s been in his second month, just like I don’t think he was as good as he was in his first.

I don’t recall people wanting him up because he was going to set the world on fire with points,

People howled that Holland created a situation where Nyquist wasn’t allowed to come up, and multiple people put 20-30+ goal expectations on him in support of their anti-Holland stance.  Other than myself I saw literally nobody projecting him as ‘low’ as 15ish and 40ish.  Nobody.

Still way too early to tell if he’s going to end up a 40 point guy or a 60+ point guy.

It’s way to early to know for certain if he’ll be either a 40 or 60+ guy.  It’s not too early to start projecting what he is more likely or less likely to be.

That’s the difference in intent between the two of us.  I’m merely speculating based on a growing set of information about a player.  You seem to regard any projections of future performance are, by definition, made as statements of 100% certainty.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/14/14 at 09:50 PM ET

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Right, we’d be better off waiving him and giving those minutes to Sammy.

Well argued.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/14/14 at 09:51 PM ET

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I don’t recall people wanting him up because he was going to set the world on fire with points, but because there was nothing more for him to learn in the AHL and he needed NHL minutes.

Of course you’re 100% correct! but why should HiHD make arguments based on reality when it is so fun for him to construct straw men which are so much easier to burn down?

Posted by Garth on 01/14/14 at 09:55 PM ET

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Based on what’s been seen of him so far, I’m sticking by by initial assessment of his overall game: Essentially Filppula’s offense, just without Filppula’s defense.  15ish goals per 82, 40ish points per 82.

So, he’s not a 20-30 goal scorer, he’s a Filppula type instead, right?

Well, Filppula is on pace for 32 goals this year, so how about your make up your *#$%@& mind?

Posted by Garth on 01/14/14 at 10:00 PM ET

maltby18's avatar

Prediction time.  In four years Nyquist makes the Olympic team.  The guru of comments claims he knew it from day one.

Odds?

Posted by maltby18 on 01/14/14 at 10:09 PM ET

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I was going to say the exact same thing @Valek said, but he beat me to it.

Is it me or does HD try to come off as this hockey guru who knows everything and if one disagrees with him he’s either a troll or an ignorant moron.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 01/14/14 at 10:35 PM ET

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I vote troll.

Posted by howeandhowe on 01/14/14 at 10:45 PM ET

PDXWing's avatar

I don’t really understand why you guys get so butthurt about HockeyinHD’s posts. Especially you, howeandhowe. It’s cute how you have to respond to anything he posts. You two should just kiss and get it over with.

Posted by PDXWing on 01/14/14 at 10:48 PM ET

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Tatar, Nyquist, Jurco, Mrazek, Jurco, Mantha, Sproul, Ouellet.

I’d say we have a GREAT corps of the future guys :D

Now what are the chances Mr. Ilitch buys a QMJHL team and gives Cleary Bertuzzi and Quincey coaching jobs?!? No? Damn I thought that was a good idea!

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 01/14/14 at 11:10 PM ET

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Posted by PDXWing on 01/14/14 at 09:48 PM ET

If I could get an STD test out of him I be happy to fulfill some fantasies. You know a little avatar on avatar action!

Posted by howeandhowe on 01/14/14 at 11:12 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Is it me or does HD try to come off as this hockey guru who knows everything and if one disagrees with him he’s either a troll or an ignorant moron.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 01/14/14 at 09:35 PM ET

Pot, meet kettle.

Posted by TreKronor on 01/14/14 at 11:15 PM ET

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Posted by TreKronor on 01/14/14 at 10:15 PM ET

TreKronor, I may be an emotional Wings fan who happens to disagree with certain things our management has done the past few years, but I don’t write essays on here like some people and call others out on an internet blog. Life is too short for that my man.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 01/14/14 at 11:22 PM ET

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but I don’t write essays on here like some people and call others out on an internet blog. Life is too short for that my man.

I do and while being emotional too! I’m a multitasker!

Posted by howeandhowe on 01/14/14 at 11:28 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Is it me or does HD try to come off as this hockey guru who knows everything and if one disagrees with him he’s either a troll or an ignorant moron.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 01/14/14 at 09:35 PM ET

but I don’t write essays on here like some people and call others out on an internet blog. Life is too short for that my man.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 01/14/14 at 10:22 PM ET

I’m just sayin…

G’night dudes.

Posted by TreKronor on 01/14/14 at 11:29 PM ET

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Posted by TreKronor on 01/14/14 at 10:29 PM ET

I still fail to deduce how that idiom applies to me, but have a good night and Go Wings!

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 01/14/14 at 11:31 PM ET

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Gus is a competitor and will find a way to get it done in the NHL. Tatar has just now been getting up to speed after not even being allowed to play at the beginning of the season. Gus will figure it out too.

Posted by griffinsfan on 01/14/14 at 11:58 PM ET

topshelf14's avatar

Gus has a ceiling of 70 points. He will get it one year, more than likely without the Wings. Ala filppula.

Posted by topshelf14 from Detroit, MI on 01/15/14 at 12:23 AM ET

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There’s really very little for Gus to “figure out”.  He’s on pace for 28 points in 57 games as a rookie.  He’s clearly a gifted player and a hard worker, so with any kind of consistent playing conditions he should easily best that next year.

Is he the savior that NOBODY AT ALL EVER OUTSIDE OF HiHD’s HEAD said he would be?  No, of course not.  That’s why nobody at all ever outside of HiHD’s head said that.  But he’s definitely going to be a solid top six presence on the Wings.

The only potential problem he has is the same one that Tatar has, which is his size, and while there’s little one can do for size, they can definitely work on strength.

Posted by Garth on 01/15/14 at 12:44 AM ET

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@Garth

Even though Tats is on the small side (like Gus), Tatar has this ability to play against bigger players kind of like Z where he can basically bounce off a check yet still hold onto the puck. It’s really great to watch and I’m excited to watch both of these players develop and become Wings for a long time.

If anyone thought Gus was going to be a “savior” then they don’t know hockey very well. Gus isn’t Crosby or Toews or Zetterberg. He’s a rookie and he will make mistakes, go through droughts and maybe even be benched a time or two, but he will be worth everything.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 01/15/14 at 12:57 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

It was absolutely no surprise to me that the first post in this thread was by “You have chosen to ignore comments from this member.”  Now, if the rest of you would simply ignore Mr. Know It All, you wouldn’t get so agitated by his nonsense,

Simply go to your Profile page, click on “Manage Ignore List” and type in HockeyinHD. Problem solved. Really, folks, that’s all it takes to eliminate the “control” that trolls think they have over blogs.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/15/14 at 01:03 AM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

Franzen, Z and Alfredsson populate 6 of Nyquist’s 8 most common linemates.

Is this based on a memory of what has happened this year? - That’s what I do when talking about line combinations and d-pairings

Or can someone link me to a stat site that has this sort of info? - (A question from an older fan who is all too aware that he isn’t completely up-to-date with stats, blogs, and other details.

Posted by alwaysaurie on 01/15/14 at 07:43 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Posted by alwaysaurie on 01/15/14 at 06:43 AM ET

I don’t know what specific stat site he was referencing, but Behindthenet tracks shared time on ice.

http://www.behindthenet.ca/nhl_time_on_ice_stats.php?ds=8&f1=2013_s&f2=5v5&f4=C+LW+RW&f5=DET&c=0+1+3+5+8+7+9+10+11+12+13+14+15+16+17+18+19+20+21+22+23+24+25+26+27+28

Hockey Analysis also does, but not as directly

http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1550&withagainst=true&season=2013-14&sit=5v5

(you’ll notice that list is sorted by time on ice shared with Nyquist)

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/15/14 at 09:02 AM ET

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We only have one top line right now. Gus is playing on it. Other teams can focus on shutting that line down because the Cleary/Eaves/Miller/Sammy threats are not that big.

With all the injuries its stupid to make assuptions based on the last 6 weeks. Gus looed better when we had 3 decent looking lines and he (and others) could get time opposite 3rd D pairigs. Lets give it some time.

Posted by lancer on 01/15/14 at 09:04 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

HD, I think third-line ceiling, Hudler-lite is really harsh. Hudler has a better shot, Gus has much better wheels, and the rest is probably a wash right now.

I think this is nothing more than what we all should’ve expected, and part of the reason some of us, you included, I recall, weren’t worried about the forward log-jam. It was inevitable that at least one of he and Tatar, if not both, would have a nasty slump. Gus has taken a gradual development path, and for the first time in years, he’s just another fish in the pond, stuck in the middle of a grind that he’s never experienced before.

The kid has the skills—I have no long-term worries. I don’t think he’ll be as good as Pav and Z, but I point to those two as examples of guys that had similar backgrounds and styles of play, and after a couple years in the bigs were able to bulk up, and in particular, improve their core strength, so that they could handle the physicality of the game in spite of most players being larger than they were/are.

I think it is entirely reasonable for us to expect Gus to have a ceiling as “Filppula with more goals and less defense.”

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/15/14 at 09:44 AM ET

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Is it me or does HD try to come off as this hockey guru who knows everything and if one disagrees with him he’s either a troll or an ignorant moron.

I think you’re confusing intent with content.  I state my opinions, just like other people do.  If you feel that the manner in which I state my opinions makes you or your opinions feel stupid that’s not my intent.  Generally I take positions that are thought out, so many times in comparison with fan posts that are more from the hip the comparison can be stark and less than flattering to the latter.  Again, not my intent.

As OTC has said, if my posts are so onerous, seriously guys… just block me.  Life’s too short and if you’d rather a comment section free of my input the tools are literally right at your fingertips.

That said, to the people prancing about like jackanapes every time I post just to try and be insulting… if you get a kick out that sort of behavior, hey, knock yourselves out.  Just be aware I tend not to take you very seriously.  For example:

Prediction time.  In four years Nyquist makes the Olympic team.  The guru of comments claims he knew it from day one.

Odds?

That guy’s just a goofball.  The cool thing about the internet is that you can actually find out what people said, me included, so while that dude wants to pretend I claim credit for arguments I didn’t make, all he’s really doing is complimenting me for being right enough that I don’t have to.

I get things wrong too, just like anybody else.  Maybe not quite as often, but often enough that I don’t think my opinions are sacrosanct and unchallengeable.  I just tend not to take some variation of ‘Nuh-uh, you suck troll’ as a substantive rebuttal.

Is this based on a memory of what has happened this year?

I use Dobber Hockey’s research tool for line combos.  I like it a little more because it breaks down by type of IT (ES/PP/PK), period, it expresses combos in terms of percentage of time played rather than as a raw number, and it actually groups the combos together.  For instance, Dobber expresses Nyquist’s ES time this year as:

25.97% EV 93 FRANZEN,JOHAN - 14 NYQUIST,GUSTAV - 40 ZETTERBERG,HENRIK

12.49% EV 44 BERTUZZI,TODD - 93 FRANZEN,JOHAN - 14 NYQUIST,GUSTAV

11.86% EV 11 ALFREDSSON,DANIEL - 14 NYQUIST,GUSTAV - 40 ZETTERBERG,HENRIK

11.67% EV 8 ABDELKADER,JUSTIN - 14 NYQUIST,GUSTAV - 40 ZETTERBERG,HENRIK

... and it goes down to list every line combo Nyquist’s appeared on this year.  I have used some of the sites JJ mentioned, but I’ve found that once you start getting too deep into those weeds it gets almost pointless. For a few specific comparisons it can be useful (with/not with a specific player) but hockeys too much of a fluid sport where matchups and lineups change every minute to have that stuff hold much substance, at least so far.  The NBA is doing some interesting stuff with their SportVU system, so maybe something similar to that will make some waves in the NHL.

We only have one top line right now. Gus is playing on it.

Well, yes and no.  He is playing mostly with better offensive forwards so in that sense you’re correct, but he’s only playing the 6th most minutes per game at ES, so he’s more of a matchup play up top rather than a fixture.  In terms of raw IT, Nyquist plays an almost identical amount to Bertuzzi.

With all the injuries its stupid to make assuptions based on the last 6 weeks. Gus looed better when we had 3 decent looking lines and he (and others) could get time opposite 3rd D pairigs.

As I said earlier to Valek I’m not making an assumption, I’m making an assessment.  Big difference.  I’m not closing the prospect book on Nyquist, but he’s written the first few chapters so I’m starting to get a feel for how the story will go.  Maybe there’s a twist, but then again maybe not.

As far as Nyquist looking better against weaker opposition… well, yes.  Obviously.  That’s sort of my point, though.  If Nyquist needs to be playing depth guys to be productive it’s tough to make a persuasive argument he’s not a depth guy.  For a long time that was my argument with regards to Hudler when people agitated for him to get more and more IT on higher and higher lines.  When he was up on those higher lines his production plummeted, when he played on the third line against other bottom six combos he produced a lot.  Eventually he got to the point where he produced more against top competition, but he was also a much more advanced goal-scorer than Nyquist along each step of the developmental chain.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/15/14 at 09:54 AM ET

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HD, I think third-line ceiling, Hudler-lite is really harsh. Hudler has a better shot, Gus has much better wheels, and the rest is probably a wash right now.

You, specifically, thought he’d score 30, Nathan.  I don’t think Nyquist is as good of a player as Hudler, and most certainly not as good of a goalscorer as Hudler… and Hudler’s never scored more than 25 and is unlikely ever to.

It’s not meant to be ‘harsh’, because it’s not a personal analysis.  I just don’t see the same goal-scoring upside in him that you apparently do.  At the NCAA level he scored 36 goals per 82.  At the AHL level he scored 32 per 82.  So far in a limited sample at the NHL level he’s scored 12 per 82.  I think he’ll improve on that, I just don’t think he’ll double it like he’d need to in order to consistently break 20 goals in NHL seasons he won’t play all 82 games.

As far as relative speed, well yeah.  Hudler couldn’t skate.  Nyquist isn’t much above average for a forward though, so while at least he’s outrunning Hudler, there aren’t a lot of other forwards slower than Hudler.

I think it is entirely reasonable for us to expect Gus to have a ceiling as “Filppula with more goals and less defense.”

Perhaps, but given that Filppula has 118 goals in 530 NHL regular season games we’re talking about a guy who averages 18 goals per 82 games.  Your initial expectation was really, then, 67% more goals than Filppula.  That seems like a lot.

IMO, just based on what we’ve seen so far, I’m guessing that if Nyquist has a 10 year NHL career at least 7 of them will have goal totals less than 20.

Honestly, considering Detroit got him late in the 4th round I think that’s great value for the pick, and I don’t have a problem if that’s all Nyquist ever is: a guy who can be dangerous offensively from the third line.  Teams need guys like that, Detroit as much as anyone.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/15/14 at 10:14 AM ET

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HiHD has made himself a number of enemies on the blog, no doubt. But I think he comments are always well-written and thought-out, even if I don’t always agree.

The advice I’d give you, HiHD, is to tread more lightly. You can make your points without the condescension. It appears that isn’t your intent - maybe you should proofread a little more before posting.

Even if we’ve had a couple disagreements in the past, isn’t that to be expected? I don’t peruse this message board to find everyone in agreement with me. What fun is that?

Posted by VitoLambruski on 01/15/14 at 10:55 AM ET

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You can make your points without the condescension. It appears that isn’t your intent

Heh.  Right.

Posted by Garth on 01/15/14 at 11:11 AM ET

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But George said LAST YEAR that Nyquist was a better all-around player than Fil right now!  I said at the time I would be very satisfied if he ever develops into a player as good as Fil, because that was a reasonable projection for Nyquist.  He was nowhere close to as good as Fil all-around then, nor is he now.

Did I think Nyquist has more offensive potential than Fil showed up to that time?  Of course.  And I always thought Fil had more offensive potential than he showed as a Wing, too, primarily because he got so little PP time.

Let the kid develop.  He might have a year as good as Fil is having this year someday.  Remember, Draper of all people had 24 goals once, so I think it’s reasonable that Nyquist have 30 once.  But he’s an 18-22 goal scorer with 50-60 point guy for the most part.  Not saying he won’t develop into more, but that’s a reasonable projection.  That is, unless you scout with red glasses on the way Malik does. 

For the most part, HiHD is right on the money.  And Nyquist will make the Olympics in 4 years.  I’m surprised he’s not on it now.  If there’s an injury, he could be the first one called.

Posted by jkm2011 on 01/15/14 at 11:21 AM ET

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Nyquist will be fine. Will he the successor to Zetterberg? Not a chance. But he should be a solid 2nd line contributor. The problem I have with Nyquist is that he seems to play a center’s game on the wing This kid really should be a center. He’s a pass-first player. He’s a dogged backchecker. I’d have converted him to center in Grand Rapids.
Considering the way Jarnkrok has played in GR, I’m not sure if we have 25U players with 1C or 2C potential. It’s probably too late to convert Nyquist at this point.
I wonder if Nyquist would make a good winger to Franzen at center. Then you can have a center who should be a winger and winger who should be a center. Sounds silly, but I think it could work.
Regardless, I think Nyquist can be a 20-25 goal, 60 point guy, which is about where a lot of us had Filppula pegged. Nyquist is crafty and he’s quick and he’s got top-level puck skills. The downside is that’s he’s very small, very slight, and easy to push around. Also, he seems to miss the net from point blank range an awful lot. It’s something I saw vs Chicago last year and it stuck with me, and I’m seeing it again this year.

Posted by Captain Bob on 01/15/14 at 03:12 PM ET

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HIHID is wrong about Hudler, who produced at a point-per-game with Datsyuk.

Posted by Captain Bob on 01/15/14 at 03:50 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

The problem I have with Nyquist is that he seems to play a center’s game on the wing This kid really should be a center. He’s a pass-first player. He’s a dogged backchecker. I’d have converted him to center in Grand Rapids.

I think he was a center until he got to GR and they converted him to wing, there.  I believe the logic was something to the effect of being too slight to play center in the NHL.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 01/15/14 at 09:33 PM ET

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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.