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Gustav Nyquist

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For next season I'm not so sure I'll focus on his point totals but just about him putting on muscle and learning to play his game with that extra weight. If he can do that and match his point totals from last season then I'll consider that an incredible year for him.

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Posted: October 3

Updated: Today at 1:06 PM

A Swede sensation at UMaine

The nation's top scorer is back, despite the lure of the pros.

By Rachel Lenzi rlenzi@mainetoday.com

Staff Writer

When it comes to being a Division I hockey standout, Gustav Nyquist has eclipsed every expectation that's been set for him in his first two seasons at the University of Maine. Put him on a fresh sheet of ice and Nyquist is sure to draw attention.

click image to enlarge

Gustav Nyquist last season became the first Hobey Baker finalist from Maine in four years, but his focus remains on helping the Black Bears reach the NCAAs.

But set the Swede in front of a video game console -- an Xbox in particular -- and any expectations his teammates have of him might diminish. Call of Duty, a video game designed to simulate infantry and armed warfare, is a favorite of Nyquist's, but the junior right wing has yet to unlock a "nuke," a level that several teammates have reached or surpassed. A complicated formula is necessary for a player to achieve 25 consecutive kills, known as "achieving a nuke."

"It's bragging rights, definitely," said defenseman Will O'Neill, who could barely contain a grin when discussing Nyquist's video game skills. "Ryan Hegarty has reached it. Spencer Abbott and Brian Flynn, too. Right now I'd say he's about the same level as me."

Nyquist's gaming goal is negligible, considering what he has accomplished in two seasons of college hockey. A year after he emerged as Maine's top right wing in the 2008-09 season, Nyquist became one of the nation's premier players last season. The 21-year-old from Malmo, Sweden, led the nation in scoring with 19 goals and 42 assists, earned All-American and became Maine's first Hobey Baker Award finalist in four years. He's the 10th player in school history to be named a finalist for the award, given annually to the top Division I hockey player.

During the offseason, Nyquist put to rest the questions about his future: Would he turn pro with the Detroit Red Wings? Would he take a risk of toiling in the minors for a year instead of helping the Black Bears in pursuit of an NCAA tournament berth for the first time since 2007?

Nyquist emphasized it again and again. He would be back for another season in Orono with a new set of goals.

"Personally, I'm trying to improve every day and help the team as much as possible," Nyquist said. "The Hobey honor is fun but that's not what I think about. As long as we're winning, that's what's important."

The way last season ended, a 7-6 overtime loss to Boston College in the Hockey East final at TD Garden in Boston, was painful. But it also gave Nyquist and the Black Bears a spark.

"Being so close last year, that made our team feel like we're a team that can be counted on," Nyquist said. "We had a great playoff run last year, going to the Garden and beating Boston University, then a heartbreak loss to BC

"Looking back, we were pleased with what we did. But there's unfinished business."

NEVER TIME TO WASTE

Nyquist spent the offseason in Sweden, where he spent much of his free time playing golf. His best day?

"I shot a 68," he said. "But that's all I did. I trained and played a lot of golf."

The offseason training, he said, was crucial. He worked out five to six days a week in preparation for his return, focusing on weight training, cardio and speed work, aiming to get faster and stronger.

"You can't afford a summer off," Nyquist said. "You need to improve all the time."

His teammates praise his work ethic. They look to him as a leader -- Nyquist has been designated as an assistant captain this season -- and they have witnessed Nyquist's maturation over the past two seasons. They've seen him reach out to the freshman class, to introduce himself and include them in the team dynamic.

"It's amazing what kind of player he is," sophomore forward Joey Diamond said. "What he did last year, being a Hobey Baker finalist and the nation's leading scorer, that's amazing. Having him, it gives us confidence."

And to the chagrin of Hockey East opponents, Nyquist is back, a decision that came as a surprise to UMass-Lowell defenseman Maury Edwards. Now Edwards has to face Nyquist when the Black Bears open Friday at home against the Riverhawks.

"It makes me nervous," Edwards said with an uneasy laugh. "He's a guy, who, when he's on the ice, you've got to know where exactly he is. He's the kind of guy that will put a team away."

A DECISION TO STAY

Edwards and Boston University defenseman David Warsofsky, players who, like Nyquist, opted not to turn pro after last season, believe Nyquist's return will help boost Hockey East's profile.

"In college hockey, there's a lot more dedication to your friends, your teammates, your school," Warsofsky said. "I think there's an obligation to go back to school and hopefully get his degree before he turns pro, and help everyone. It sets a good example for the rest of college hockey."

Looking back at last spring, some of Nyquist's teammates admitted they had some anxieties about his future and whether it would be in Orono or in the pros.

"There's always that thought," Maine defenseman Jeff Dimmen said. "Ultimately it comes down to what's best for him. We were all hoping and trying to get him to stay."

Others had little doubt.

The team captain, Tanner House, never questioned the possibility that Nyquist would move to the pros. What impressed House is the way Nyquist handled the questions that seemed to arise daily after Maine's season ended.

"I think Gus has acted pretty professional about it, the way he always has been," House said. "He's been open with everybody about what's going on and when he told me when the season was over that he was coming back, I left it at that. I never had to question it. There was no anxiety at all."

O'Neill, who is Nyquist's roommate and in-house Xbox nemesis, takes a pragmatic approach.

"It's his decision," O'Neill said. "If he had went or if he had stayed, I would have been supportive. But he realized what was at stake here. And what he can accomplish here, that's only going to come around for him once in a lifetime."

When the right time comes, Nyquist said, he will make the decision. But again, unfinished business remains for himself and for his team.

"I'm just happy to be back at Maine," Nyquist said. "There are some great opportunities here. My dream right now is to be able to play for this team, and I'm focused on Maine."

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

rlenzi@pressherald.com

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PC coach Tim Army says the Black Bears are a dangerous offensive team. “They are explosive. They’ve got a lot of depth. They have six forwards that are very good. Their defense is very active. They have some defensemen who can add to the offense. The power play‘s real good,’’ he said.

The Nyquist kid (Gustav Nyquist), arguably, is the best player in the country. He’s in the top five. (Stephane) Da Costa (of Merrimack) is probably in the top five. (Nyquist) is that good of an individual. Like all good players, he can be quiet at times, then all of a sudden he steals the puck and -- magic,’’ said Army.

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I wonder what his upside is. I see him as being a 2nd line winger. Very exciting prospect. :thumbup:

I think that's spot on. I see him as a more offensive, but less defensive Filppula.

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Why hasn't he participated in a WJC?

I think he did two years ago? Plus he's 21 now.

He had 1 assist in 4 games.

getty_gnyquist.jpg

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For such an exciting prospect, you barely hear anything about him. I guess being in college means you're less likely to attract the spotlight, but after a slow start to the season he's really coming on now. He'll likely go back for a 4th and final year in college but I'd much prefer to get him to the AHL.

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My inner psychic, I'll name it Marie, tells me that the Wings may have a future third line of Tatar-V. Filppula-Nyquist.

Even though these crystal ball lines that include today's prospects probably change every week in Marie's prophecies, on paper that looks exciting if Tatar and Nyquist can do what they do at the NHL level.

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No prospect was hotter in February than Maine's Gustav Nyquist (DET). The junior winger started off the month with a bang, posting his first career hat trick in the Black Bears' 6-3 win over New Hampshire on Feb. 4th. All of his goals came on the power play. In Maine's eight games during February, Nyquist posted 14 points (ten goals, four assists). He posted points in seven of the eight games, having been held pointless only in the Feb. 18 game at UMass-Lowell. His outstanding performance earned him the Hockey East Player of the Month honor for February. Nyquist currently leads Maine with 42 points (16 goals, 26 assists) playing in all 32 games to date. His 26 assists also lead the Black Bears.

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I've watched a few of his games this year and I've really noticed his skating. I don't know if he's known as a fast skater or not, but he always looks like the fastest player on the ice when I watch him. Here's a video of a recent game, he scores at the beginning and at 1:50...

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He's not the fastest, but he is a very smooth skater. Kind of like Zetterberg. Z isn't the best skater, but he is very efficient.

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Wings expecting a decision soon on whether he'll go pro or stay in school:

http://www.freep.com/article/20110313/SPORTS05/110313008/1053/sports05/Red-Wings-expect-decision-soon-from-Maine-junior-Gustav-Nyquist

So what does everyone think, is he better off staying for his Sr year or does he start the clocking ticking on his waiver exemption period? With Mursak, Emmerton,& Tatar the next three in line, I don't see the major rush for him to turn pro just yet.

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He's just a smart player that plays great defense. Like Sheahan, they could play on the Wings 4th line right now and not be out of place, but it's good we don't rush our prospects so they can mature! Look at all the other orgs that rush their prospects and tank every single year.

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From the few games with the Griffins Ive seen of Nyquist he looks really good out there. Definitely the real deal.

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Nyquist did pretty good in his few games with the griffs. Will be nice to see what he does with a full year in GR. Definitely seems to have a bright future.

Also, he probably has the sweetest name ever...all the more reason to love him!!!

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