After losing Matt Duchene (Nashville), Ryan Dzingel (Carolina), Artemi Panarin (New York Rangers), and Sergei Bobrovsky (Florida) last offseason in free agency, the Columbus Blue Jackets made a surprising move to give a four-year, $22 million ($5.5 million AAV) contract to Gustav Nyquist, who had only reached fifty points once in his career, and never scored thirty goals in a season. It appears as if GM Jarmo Kekäläinen’s gamble paid off, as the Blue Jackets shockingly sit in the second wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference with a 33-22-15 record in seventy games played.
Gustav Nyquist played in all seventy games for the Blue Jackets this season, in which he scored fifteen goals, and registered twenty-seven assists for forty-two points. His fifteen goals were the fourth-most on the team, behind Oliver Bjorkstrand’s twenty-one, Zach Werenski’s twenty, and Pierre Luc-Dubois’ eighteen. Nyquist’s twenty-seven assists trail only Pierre-Luc Dubois’ thirty-one for the team lead, and his forty-two total points also trail Pierre-Luc Dubois’ forty-nine for the team lead. For more information about Pierre-Luc Dubois’ season statistics and contract status, check out our article on that here. This season, Nyquist had an impressive penalty taken/drawn ratio of 7:12, which was among the better ratios on the Blue Jackets. His giveaway/takeaway ratio wasn’t as impressive however, as it was a 41:27 (-14 turnover +/-). However, his +4 +/- rating was tied for seventh-best on the team with Alexandre Texier under Seth Jones and Eric Robinson (+10), Zach Werenski (+9), Oliver Bjorkstrand (+8), Riley Nash (+6), Jakob Lilja (+5).
AB wise, Nyquist finished the season with a solid +1.01 individual score, which was tied with Zach Werenski for ninth-best on the team. He trails only Oliver Bjorkstrand (+2.74), Eric Robinson (+2.33), Ryan MacInnis (+1.8), Kevin Stenlund (+1.65), Alexandre Texier (+1.55), Jakob Lilja (+1.44), and Cam Atkinson (+1.28). Nyquist’s career AB score is a +1.8, and he has never registered a negative individual AB score in the nine years of data we have on him. In fact, his +1.01 score this season was his best individual AB score since his +2.82 score with Detroit in 2014-15.
We ran Nyquist through our arbitration analyzer, and his closest comparable contracts were Boston’s Charlie Coyle, who makes $5.25 million AAV, and Anaheim’s Adam Henrique, who makes $5.825 million. Nyquist’s AAV falls almost exactly in-between these two with his $5.5 million AAV, which shows us that he is adequately paid. As surprising as this move was on July 1st, 2019, Jarmo Kekäläinen and his staff knew the kind of player they were adding, and props to them for getting it done.