The Dallas Stars need to upgrade their top-six forward corps by one, but preferably two players and they have the cap space to do it. One of the most popular names is obviously Mats Zuccarello and rightfully so. He looked great both on the stat sheets and in person this season. Another is Jordan Eberle, who unfortunately for the Stars, just signed a five-year extension with the New York Islanders. With free agency looming and the pool of players dwindling, one of the other players that fans should have on their radar is Gustav Nyquist of the San Jose Sharks.
Nyquist is a 29-year-old right wing that just came off a 60-point season. He had spent his entire career with the Detroit Red Wings and was traded mid-season to the San Jose Sharks where he scored 11 points in 16 games. For the past five years in Detroit, he had hovered around the 45-point mark with his career high coming this year with 22 goals and 38 assists. The Stars desperately could use another top-six winger to come in and score above 50 points and Nyquist can be that player. His contract is projected by Evolving Wild to be six years with an AAV of $5.7 million, a number that the Dallas Stars can afford quite easily at the moment. Replacing players like Blake Comeau, Mattias Janmark, and Jason Dickinson with Zuccarello and Nyquist would be a massive upgrade to the offense.
There is one con to signing Nyquist. He doesn’t have much of a scoring touch, which should be what the Stars are looking for. Over the past three years he ranks around 80-100th in goals, shots, and shot attempts per hour. He’s a solid all-around player with more of a playmaking touch with his career-best 28 goals coming in the 2013 season with the Red Wings. Looking at the roster, the Stars have plenty of players who can dish the puck and make plays. Forwards like Zuccarello (hopefully), Hintz, Dickinson, and Radulov are all players who can pressure the puck and set up shots. The only real shooter on the team is Tyler Seguin though and it would be nice to bring in a player whose first thought is to shoot, especially for the nights when Seguin hits more posts than net.
Regardless, if the Stars sign Nyquist he would be a welcomed addition to the team’s top six and would instantly make Dallas better. He had a career year just this season when hitting the 60-point mark, which can make anyone optimistic that he has more to give and maybe the Detroit roster was hampering his output all along. Gustav played on the top line in San Jose and fit in perfectly. A signing like this would allow Jamie Benn to play on the second line and let Nyquist be the playmaker to feed Seguin. The trickle-down effect of bringing in a proven top-line forward cannot be understated, especially with the current holes in the top six. Nyquist makes not just the even-strength numbers better, but also allows another tool on the power play. As mentioned, I’m not entirely sure if a Zuccarello re-signing and Nyquist signing makes more sense than bringing in at least one player who is known for his scoring touch, but granted, they both make the team better at the end of the day.