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Dallas Stars 2011-12 Season Grades: Eric Nystrom

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Once again it's that time of year here on Defending Big D where we take a look at each player that suited up for 25 or more games this season (and are still with the team) and take a look back at their season. What was good about it, what wasn't so good, and the lasting impression they left us as we go into summer.

Eric Nystrom

#24 / Left Wing / Dallas Stars



Feb 14, 1983

G A P +/- PIM
2011 - Eric Nystrom 16 5 21 -10 24

Key Stat: 16 - The number of goals Eric Nystrom scored this season, an NHL career high for the winger. His 21 total points is also a career mark, and the 24 penalty minutes amongst the lowest in his NHL career.

The Good: When Eric Nystrom was picked up from waivers at full cap value, it was to ensure that the Dallas Stars could remain compliant with the NHL's cap rules. The Stars were in danger of falling below the salary cap floor due to the fact that the New York Rangers had sent Sean Avery down to the minors, removing his cap hit from the Stars' salary cap. Nystrom came to the Stars with a chip on his shoulder, ready to prove to his new employers that he could contribute at the NHL level. On his way to surpassing his career highs in goals and points, ten of his sixteen goals scored came in the first half of the season. In November, he scored seven goals. He tied his previous career high 11 goals in December versus Anaheim.

The Bad: The checking line which Eric Nystrom was a part of was often overexposed, getting lit up several times for quality scoring chances and goals against. Combined with his most common linemates Vernon Fiddler and Radek Dvorak, Nystrom's plus/minus was amongst the top three worst on the team this season. When asked to play up in the lineup due to injuries, Nystrom couldn't convert his scoring touch as he had been near the beginning of the season, and was shifted back down to third line duties. His scoring was streaky this season at best, and his goal scoring droughts came often when the entire team was struggling and really could have used some scoring depth.

The Bottom Line: No one expected Nystrom to light the world on fire, yet he did just that for the first two months of the season with the Dallas Stars. The depth scoring he provided was more than anyone could have dreamed of getting from him, and he proved that when given the right line matchups he could be a decent checking line winger. However, when he is overexposed due to poor line matchups, he's often turned into a defensive liability on the ice, making many question whether he is suited to the checking line role or if he should be more of an energy line guy.

The Vote: Rate Eric Nystrom below on a scale of A to F (A being the best of course) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season he was here.