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Eric Nystrom Season Preview: Fourth Line Livin'

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While he may not see last year's success, Nystrom should prove to be a quality fourth line player for the Preds.

Bruce Bennett

Eric Nystrom was tailor made for the Barry Trotz system. He's the definition of a tough-as-nails, gritty player that battles for the puck and concentrates on the little things. He excelled in Nashville last year, tying his career high of 21 points, while skating just under 15 minutes a night. That was still on the lower end among forwards, but about on par with Colin Wilson, and more than Gabriel Bourque and Viktor Stalberg.

The changing of the guard may have some impact on where Nystrom fits into the lineup, but for the most part his role as a player is already defined. You know exactly what to expect out of him every night, and he delivers. Frankly, if Nashville hadn't historically been up to their eyeballs in #grit players, Eric (middle name Thore) would be one of those underdog fan favorites. Unfortunately for him, he came at just the wrong time.

With the expectation that Peter Laviolette will focus more on speed and puck possession, Nystrom's minutes will almost certainly drop. He was toward the bottom of the team, with a 46.2 CF%, which isn't all that shocking. Nystrom still has a place on this team (for now) as being an energy fourth liner. He may not see the success he had last year, but he's never be counted on to put up scores of points.

Best Case Scenario

Nystrom is still depended on by both his teammates and his coach to be the role player the Predators signed him for. While he doesn't match the point total he reached last year, he is still able to chip in with around 10 goals and adds a few more bouts to his fight card as well.

Worst Case Scenario

The system change doesn't help Nystrom at all, and he sees his ice time diminishing before he is finally squeezed out in favor of one of the rookies.

Spirit Animal

Nystrom is a Labrador Retriever incarnate. Friendly, loyal to a tee, and does what's expected of it. Also chases after things on command.