Blue Jackets trade Gustav Nyquist to Wild: Why Minnesota acquired Columbus forward

By Pierre LeBrun, Eric Duhatschek, Michael Russo and Aaron Portzline

The Minnesota Wild have acquired forward Gustav Nyquist from the Columbus Blue Jackets in return for a 2023 fifth-round pick, the teams announced Tuesday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Nyquist has been sidelined since January 25 with a shoulder injury. Columbus announced earlier this month that he is expected to miss the remainder of the seasonbut Nyquist said he will work to return sooner.
  • He recorded 22 points in 48 games this season before the injury.
  • Nyquist appeared in all 82 games last season, totaling 53 points, after missing the entire 2020-21 campaign with a shoulder injury.
  • The Blue Jackets retained 50 percent of Nyquist’s contract. That leaves the Wild with just under $1.7 million in cap space or the ability to add up to $7.4 million in players, a team source confirmed to The Athletic.

Scouting report

In the wake of a team announcement, he would miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury, Nyquist said The AthleticAaron Portzline on Feb. 1 that the injury would cost him “weeks, not months, and it won’t require surgery.” That opened the door for a trade. If he can return, Nyquist will have value as a rental. He’s 33 and a respected veteran player who would be a low-maintenance addition to a team seeking depth up front for a Stanley Cup run. — Duhatschek

Why did the Wild go after Nyquist?

This is the second trade the Wild made on Tuesday after sending a third-round pick to Washington to re-acquire Nyquist’s Swedish compatriot, Marcus Johansson. Nyquist is a quick, skilled, hard-working winger who can play up and down the Wild’s lineup. He has scored 174 goals and 423 points in 700 NHL games. — Russo

Nyquist is a classic “secondary” scorer, a player who can compliment the right players on a first line but is a perfect fit on a second line or a capable third line. Last season he was 18-35-53 and played in all 82 games for Columbus, the second best season of his career. He was 10-12-22 in 48 games at the time of the injury. He is a defensively reliable player, one who takes very little risk offensively and quickly gains the confidence of the coaches. He is also an excellent penalty killer due to his quick hands and good anticipation. — Porcelain

Nyquist’s injury history

Nyquist suffered a shoulder injury on Jan. 25 in Edmonton. It was the same shoulder that he had surgically repaired in 2020, causing him to miss the entire 2020-21 season. But this injury did not require surgery, and he expects to be back before the end of the regular season and certainly by the playoffs. — Porcelain

What they say

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on Nyquist:

“Nyquist is a first-class individual, who has brought great professionalism, leadership and commitment to our organization both on and off the ice over the past five years,” said Kekalainen. “We wish him and his wife, Danielle, and their family well in the future.”

Compulsory reading

(Photo: Russell LaBounty / USA Today)

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