Finding a Match for Gustav Nyquist and Jimmy Howard: Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, New York Islanders, San Jose Sharks, and Calgary Flames

The trade deadline is fast approaching and there are still a couple of Red Wings (both of which are impending UFAs) — Gustav Nyquist and Jimmy Howard — who could be of interest to teams around the league…

RW Gustav Nyquist

Photo: NHL.com
  • Age: 29 years old
  • Games played: 60
  • Points: 48
    • Goals: 15
    • Assists: 33
    • PPP: 11

1. Boston Bruins

The Bruins are rolling, having won 7 straight and 9 of their last 10. Although nobody is catching the incredible Tampa Bay Lightning (18 points up on Boston), the Bruins are only 4 points ahead of the Maple Leafs for 2nd place. Securing home-field advantage would be huge for the Bruins, as conveyed by the substantial discrepancy depicted below…

  • Home: 21 – 7 – 3
  • Away: 15 – 10 – 5

Adding a player of Nyquist’s caliber could pay big dividends. Right now, Danton Heinen (9 goals and 12 assists in 57 games) is slotted in as the #1 RW with David Pastrnak sidelined at least 2 weeks with a thumb injury. 23 year old Karson Kuhlman (1 goal and 1 assist in his first 3 career NHL games) is second on the RW depth chart (per CBS Sports). Nyquist would for sure be a substantial upgrade over the two aforementioned players. Once Pastrnak returns, Nyquist could simply slide back to the second line (RW).

Here’s a deal that could conceivably work for both sides…

Boston Bruins trade a 2019 2nd round pick and C Peter Cehlarik to the Detroit Red Wings for RW Gustav Nyquist

Cehlarik, a former 3rd round pick and a pending RFA (after this season), has been unable to find a footing with the Boston organization, due to a combination of injury and a lack of opportunities at the NHL level. In 13 NHL games this year, he has scored 4 goals and recorded 2 assists. In 35 AHL games with the Providence Bruins, he had 11 goals and 12 assists.

Cehlarik is a player that may create the most buzz in the Bruins organization every preseason. That’s impressive given the fact that he’s 23 years old, a third-round pick from 2013 and has played in only 17 NHL games to date with one goal and four points to show for it.
While he has the size (6 foot 2 and 202 pounds) as well as the ability to play a responsible and dynamic two-way game, injuries and depth have gotten in the way of him making a consistent splash with the Bruins. If he can remain healthy and produce at the level everyone expects he’s capable of, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him make the NHL in a top-six capacity one day. At the same time, it would be equally unsurprising to see him fail to make an impact at the NHL level altogether given his inability to remain healthy.

The Hockey Writers (at the beginning of the 2018 season)

2. Dallas Stars

The Stars are in sole possession of the #1 WC spot in the Western Conference, but there’s a catch: 5 teams are within 5 points. RW remains a position of need for Dallas, whose #2 RW at the moment is Blake Comeau…

  • Points: 11
    • Goals: 6
    • Assists: 5
  • Games played: 56

Nyquist has 4x more points than Comeau and would invigorate the Stars second line with creativity and burst of brilliance, like the one below…

Here’s what the Stars could part with…

Dallas Stars trade a 2019 2nd round pick and G Colton Point to the Detroit Red Wings for RW Gustav Nyquist

Colton Point was selected in the 5th round back in 2016. He had a sensational 2017 season at Colgate University, but has struggled mightily this year…

2017

  • GP: 33
  • GAA: 1.74
  • SV%: .944

2018

  • AHL
    • GP: 7
    • GAA: 3.77
    • SV%: .857
  • ECHL
    • GP: 10
    • GAA: 3.31
    • SV%: .884

Point has a good frame at 6-foot-4 and makes the most of it. He comes well out of his net, cutting down angles and reducing the amount of room that shooters have to look at. Point is a very good skater. This allows him to get back in his net and avoid being deked. He also has a strong leg push and tracks the puck well. He gets side-to-side quickly making a number of acrobatic saves.
Point has very quick legs. He takes away the bottom of the net very effectively. He is also strong on the blocker side. Point’s glove hand can sometimes be an issue as he has a tendency to drop it too low. He has worked at correcting this and does it less, but it can still be an issue from time-to-time. Point can also stand to work on his rebound control. That said, he is good at staying square to the puck and making the next save even when he gives up a rebound. Point gets out of his net to play pucks. He is a decent stick-handler and makes a good outlet pass.

Last Word on Hockey (in August of 2018)

3. New York Islanders

The Islanders are in a very good position as it stands, sitting 1st place in the Metropolitan division, 4 points ahead of the Capitals with a game in hand. They’ve allowed the fewest goals/game in the league (2.18 according to FOX Sports), but their offense is just average (2.9 goals per game; 17th in the NHL). Their second line RW (per CBS Sports) is Leo Komarov (6 goals and 13 assists), whose production is far inferior to that of Nyquist. Nyquist would certainly boost their offense and could play some minutes on the 1st line as well (RW Eberle has only 28 points). Here’s what the Islanders could offer…

New York Islanders trade a 2020 1st round pick and C Kieffer Bellows to the Detroit Red Wings for RW Gustav Nyquist

Bellows is a solid prospect who has struggled in his 1st year in the AHL (11 goals and 5 assists in 56 games), but he put up huge numbers in the CHL…

  • Games played: 56
  • Goals: 41
  • Assists: 33

Jimmy Howard

Photo: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images
  • Age: 34 years old
  • Games played: 42
  • Wins: 17
  • GAA: 2.88
  • SV%: .910

1. San Jose Sharks

San Jose has virtually clinched a playoff spot, as they are ahead of the 3rd place Golden Knights by 11 points with a game in hand; however they are neck and neck with the Flames, whom they trail by 1 point (despite having played 1 more game). Goaltending is not what the Sharks are all about. Starting goalie Martin Jones may have a sterling 29 – 11 – 5 record, but his other stats suggest that he has plenty of room for improvement…

  • GAA: 2.89
  • SV%: .898

Backup goaltender Aaron Dell has performed poorly (GAA: 3.04; SV%: .892), which intensifies the Sharks need for a dependable goalie like Jimmy Howard.

Here is one deal that could benefit both sides involved…

San Jose Sharks trade D Mario Ferraro, D Ryan Merkley, and a 2020 2nd round pick, and a 2019 3rd round pick to the Detroit Red Wings for G Jimmy Howard and RW Gustav Nyquist

Ferraro, an offensive-minded defensemen, was selected 49th overall in the 2017 draft. His performance has regressed this year after a strong showing in 2017 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (4 goals and 19 assists in 39 games)…

  • Games played: 30
  • Points: 10
    • Goals: 1
    • Assists: 9

Ferraro, a high-energy player with more than enough speed and skill to join the rush, set a school record for points by a freshman defenseman, and the 19-year-old will return for his sophomore year at UMass Amherst. One of his goals this season is to get more shots through from the point.
“I am an offensive-defenseman,” Ferraro said. “I take pride in the [defensive zone], but when I do find those open areas to skate up the ice, definitely like to do that, whether I have the puck on my stick or I’m coming in as a late guy at the top of the circle.”
Ferraro (5-11, 185), had 41 points (eight goals, 33 assists) in 60 games for Des Moines of the United States Hockey League two seasons ago.

Eric Gilmore of NHL.com

Merkley would be the headliner in this deal. He was selected 21st overall in last year’s draft and has performed exceptionally well in 2018…

  • OHL Guelph Storm
    • Games played: 28
    • Goals: 5
    • Assists: 34
  • OHL Peterborough Petes
    • Games played: 25
    • Goals: 6
    • Assists: 18

Merkley, who turned 18 on Aug. 14, was considered to be one of the biggest risk-reward picks in the 2018 draft. He has elite offensive skills but needs work in the defensive zone and had trouble controlling his frustration at times, which hurt his draft position. Merkley (5-11, 170) will play another season in the Ontario Hockey League, which will give him time to add strength.

Eric Gilmore of NHL.com (at the beginning of the year)

2. Calgary Flames

The Flames have little room for error, sitting a mere 1 point in front of the Sharks. They’re playing really well, but starting goaltender Mike Smith simply won’t cut it in the playoffs…

  • Games played: 30
  • GAA: 3.02
  • SV%: .892

Both Smith and Howard are scheduled to hit free agency after this season. With Howard being the far superior player, it will most certainly be a costly upgrade for the Flames…

Calgary Flames trade a 2019 1st round pick and G Mike Smith to the Detroit Red Wings for a 2019 5th round pick (belonging to Detroit) and G Jimmy Howard

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