DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings have made their decision on Gustav Nyquist.
Nyquist will play Saturday against the Ottawa Senators, which means the rookie forward will remain with the team for the rest of the season.
He scored a pair of goals Thursday, the first came 17 seconds into the game and his second was the game winner on a breakaway, as the Wings snapped a seven-game winless streak.
“You just get some miles under your belt,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “Obviously, he could have been here at the start of the year. He wasn’t here because of decisions I made over the course of the summer but I told him when I sent him down that our goal was to get him back up. I didn’t put a time frame on it but I hoped sometime in November we could get him back.”
Nyquist would have made the team out of training camp, but because of the Wings’ roster size and the fact he could still be sent to Grand Rapids without having to clear waivers made him an easy roster decision for the team to make.
“He did (Thursday) night what we hoped he would,” Holland said. “He gave our team a boost. Our confidence needed a little boost and 17 seconds into the game Gustav Nyquist scored a goal, so it was great for our team, great for Gus and then he scored another goal.”
The signing of Daniel Cleary at the start of training camp in a way squeezed Nyquist, who led Grand Rapids with seven goals and 14 assists, out of a roster spot.
“We’re going to put the best team we can on the ice every night and as we have decisions to make on the cap we’ll make them,” Holland said. “We’ve done it in the past. We know he’s an NHL player.
“We obviously had cap issues,” Holland continued. “Coming out of camp with (Daniel) Alfredsson and (Stephen) Weiss and all the people we got here we had some tough decisions to make so we put him down in the American League.”
Detroit has had to waive three players – Cory Emmerton, Jordin Tootoo and Patrick Eaves – since the season began and they’ve all cleared and been assigned to Grand Rapids.
Nyquist was able to be recalled after Danny DeKeyser was placed on long-term injured reserve.
“That was the incident that kind of got the ball moving,” Holland said.
The Wings will have another decision to make on their roster in another defenseman goes down before DeKeyser comes back. They’ll also have one to make if no other player goes on long-term injured reserve prior to DeKeyser’s return.
“I continue to be in contact with other managers around the league and hopefully one day down the road we can make a move,” Holland said. “
There’s also a provision in the collective bargaining agreement that if you have less than 20 healthy skaters, you play one game shorthanded and then you can bring someone up that makes less than $100,000.
“There are so many provisions in the CBA,” Holland said. “We’re going to be cap compliant and we’re going to put the best team out on the ice.”
Nyquist will be back paired with Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen, Saturday.
“He’s confident and poised with the puck,” Daniel Alfredsson said. “He’s quick and makes good plays. Playing with Z and Franzen he fit in extremely well. He made plays and found open spots. You could tell he was excited. Playing the way he did he brought energy and made plays.”
The win also snapped Detroit’s eight-game winless streak on home ice.
“Hopefully we can build off that,” Holland said. “We’re hoping in the next week to 10 days we’ll get Alfie and Weiss back. With Nyquist here we’re slowly looking like we’re going to put four lines together and hopefully we can get some scoring up and down the lineup. We haven’t had that.”
“We got (Darren) Helm back and he seems to be getting better and better, and now you add Nyquist,” Holland continued. “Hopefully we’re slowly starting to piece ourselves together.”