Columbus Blue Jackets Season in Review: Gustav Nyquist

Entering the 2022-23 season, the Jackets knew they would be leaning heavily on veteran winger Gustav Nyquist to lead the way for the young team. They also knew they might be dealing his rights at the trade deadline, due to his impending unrestricted free agent status – which is exactly what happened.

It seems like just yesterday that Gustav Nyquist signed a four year contract with the Blue Jackets, who plucked the winger from free agency in hopes of replacing some of the scoring lost after the exodus of talent in 2019. He was a consolation prize for a team that lost Artemi Panarin and Matt Duchene from its top-six; but he helped lessen the sting of a team transitioning to a new era.

Right off the bat, it was obvious that Nyquist was not a straight across replacement for Panarin. But, that doesn’t mean this wasn’t the best signing the team could make, given the circumstances. Nyquist came right in and led the way for the Jackets, scoring 15 goals and 42 points in 70 games, before the season was shortened due to the COVID pandemic.

Unfortunately, he would miss the entire following season due to injury. But, he returned for the 2021-22 season and added 18 goals and 53 points, which would be his high marks during his time in Columbus. This season, he was only able to get into 48 games with the team, scoring 10 goals and 22 points before again leaving due to injury – and then being dealt to Minnesota at the trade deadline.

Nyquist was everything advertised during his time in Columbus. It’s unfair to compare him to the best offensive producers we’ve ever had, but he was a terrific secondary scoring winger for this team, who played in all situations and led by example every step of the way. He was an efficient scorer for the Jackets, and he even helped out on the penalty kill. He was the perfect middle-six winger during his entire time here.

Jan 21, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Gustav Nyquist (14) looks to pass against the San Jose Sharks during the first period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

With Minnesota, Gus got into just three regular season games (scoring 1 goal and 4 points); then had 5 assists in 6 playoff games. Obviously, he was able to prove that he still has some gas left in the tank, and he should cash in nicely with one more decent contract this summer. The Jackets cash in with a 5th round draft pick, which is probably less than we wanted – but, it’s not a complete loss.

Final season stats: 51 games played, 11 goals, 16 assists, 27 points, 16 PIMs, -9, 102 shots on goal. Overall grade: C

Safe to say, we shouldn’t expect Nyquist to re-sign back in Columbus this summer. I don’t think the team is going to be looking to add anybody on the wings, with the glut of forwards they have returning. But, he’s an easy guy to root for, and we’ll be interested to follow him wherever he ends up. I’m thankful for his time here – it would have been easy for him to spurn the Jackets and go elsewhere; especially with the talent that left here when he signed in 2019.