With the addition of Gustav Nyquist at the trade deadline, how do the San Jose Sharks stack up for the final stretch of the regular season?
The San Jose Sharks sit comfortably in second place in the Pacific Division with 82 points, keeping pace with the top of the Western Conference. They have several talented skaters, stick-handlers and sharpshooters. This team seems to have no problem finding the back of the net, averaging 3.62 goals per game. Now add a player like Gus Nyquist from the Detroit Red Wings to that mix and you have the most dynamic offense in the league.
Gustav Nyquist is a smart, versatile goal scorer on the wing who is on pace to have the best season of his eight-year career. The 29-year-old pending unrestricted free agent was the Red Wings’ second-leading scorer with 16 goals and 33 assists. After 481 career games with Detroit, Nyquist now travels cross-country to join Swedish countryman Erik Karlsson (who was nice enough to pick him up at the airport Monday night).
Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, and Timo Meier make a dynamic trio on the first line. Tomas Hertl and Evander Kane are a hard-working, heavy fore-checking force with Joonas Donskoi rounding out the second line as a sneakily speedy winger who’s strong with the puck. That line combination has been unstoppable and it’s elevated the play of the other members of Team Teal.
Nyquist most likely will fit quite nicely on the third line with Kevin Labanc and Joe Thornton, who has arguably been the best Sharks forward since the All-Star break. Marcus Sorensen is out with concussion symptoms, so it makes sense to slot Nyquist with Labanc and Thornton as the Sharks prepare to close out their four-game road trip against a Boston Bruins squad that’s clicking on all cylinders offensively.
In addition to supporting 5-on-5 play, Nyquist’s smooth skating and hockey sense give the San Jose Sharks another weapon in the neutral zone. He is known to excel at offensive zone entries and exits.
Gus also adds another strong scoring threat on the power plays second unit. The Sharks own the fifth-ranked power play that’s clicking at 25 percent and trending up. You can only assume that these numbers will improve as the Sharks finish out the regular season with 12 of their final 19 games on home ice at SAP Center.
The San Jose Sharks seem to be betting on their offense with general manager Doug Wilson doubling down on the trust he has in his No. 1 netminder Martin Jones. He made the executive decision to pour what limited assets Team Teal had into the forward group.
The addition of Gustav Nyquist further signifies that this team is all in for this season. He solidifies this team’s top nine, which can hopefully offset the problems in net. Regardless of how the rest of this season transpires there is no doubt that this squad will be entertaining to watch.