The Columbus Blue Jackets may have lost Artemi Panarin and Matt Duchene, but they’ve added one of the other top free agent forwards. Gustav Nyquist has signed a four-year deal with the Blue Jackets that will carry a $5.5MM average annual value according to Bob McKenzie of TSN.
The 29-year-old winger has been a solid producer over the years as he has two straight 20-goal seasons, although his best two years were much earlier in his career when he tallied 55 goals over two seasons with Detroit between 2013 and 2015. Knowing they weren’t likely going to bring the veteran back, the Red Wings traded him to San Jose for a 2019 second-round pick and Nyquist proved to be instrumental in assisting the Sharks throughout the rest of the regular season and the playoffs. In 19 regular season, he scored six goals and 11 points and while he scored just one goal in 20 playoff games, he did set up a number of his teammates as he wracked up 10 assists.
In Columbus, Nyquist should fill a key role in the team’s top-six that not just lost Duchene and Panarin, but also is expected to part ways with Ryan Dzingel, who many believed would stay with the Blue Jackets. His presence should fill that gap and also give Columbus a solid second-line winger, who could eventually slide back into a third-line role as he gets older and a number of the team’s young prospects are ready to step into greater roles.