Sharks offseason questions: Will Gustav Nyquist be back next season?


SAN JOSE - The Sharks made two additions at forward during this past season's trade deadline. One of which was acquiring Gustav Nyquist from the Detroit Red Wings.

Now the Swedish forward will enter free agency for the first time in his career. Like the other skaters on San Jose's long list of unrestricted free agents, it isn't readily clear if he'll be back next season. He has, however, expressed that he would like to stay in San Jose.

"I love it here," Nyquist said on the last day of media availability on May 23. "I had a great time here. I had a great experience, a great three months." 

Team Teal's late Sunday night acquisition of Nyquist less than 12 hours before the trade deadline was one of the biggest moves made in the middle of the season. San Jose was committed to making it to the Stanley Cup Final but was still trying to solidify depth throughout its lineup, and when the long-time Red Wing -- who registered 49 points (16 goals, 33 assists) prior to being traded -- waived his no-trade clause to play for the Sharks, it really made a splash. 

Like many players who go to a new team, it took some time for Nyquist to find where he fit in best in San Jose's lineup. After some line juggling -- in part due to a number of injuries the Sharks dealt with toward the end of the regular season -- Nyquist ended the regular season with 11 points in 19 games for the Sharks. But as the playoffs got underway, he settled in nicely with San Jose's de facto top line. He had an offensive impact on Logan Couture's wing, tallying one goal and 11 assists through 20 playoff games. (The most notable, of course, is when he set up Erik Karlsson's controversial game-winning goal in Game 3 of the Western Conference final against the St. Louis Blues.)

Now, even though Nyquist sounds genuinely interested in staying in teal, there are numerous factors that play into whether he stays in San Jose.

With eight years of experience on his professional resume, the winger is likely looking for a lengthy contract. As has been talked about ever since the season ended, the Sharks have three big UFAs to tend to in Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Nyquist's fellow countryman Karlsson. It isn't readily clear if any of the three of them will be returning next season, either. Should the Sharks retain two of the three players, it could be possible Nyquist looks elsewhere for the contract he wants. 

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Of course, all of this remains hard to determine since it appeared there hadn't been contract talks for any players as of May 23. The only thing we really can gauge is that Nyquist is open to the possibility of staying and building on the work he did during his three months in San Jose.

"I have nothing but good things to say about everyone," Nyquist said. "The organization, first class how they treated me and all the guys in this room. It's been awesome playing with those guys and come into a really impressive team. It's been a great experience."

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