|5v5 P/60||5v5 SAT%||5v5 SAT% Rel||5v5 SCF%||5v5 ZSO%||5v5 PDO||5v5 TOI/Gm|
Eric Nystrom entered the third year of his four-year deal with the same expectations he's had since he signed in Nashville: provide some fourth-line grit and maybe chip in a few goals here and there. He delivered in that sense, chipping in seven goals and another five assists. Nystrom is also one of those character guys who provides some always needed charisma in the locker room.
When the Predators started their torrid pace out of the gate, they were led by the likes of Paul Gaustad and Eric Nystrom. In fact, Nystrom had the first game-winning goal of the season when he potted one against Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators. Twas a byoot.
The Road Ahead
He's going to be another expensive fourth-line options for Nashville. His cap hit for 2015-2016 is another $2.5 million (though he's earning $3 million) which is a lot to pay for a guy for his skill set. That's nothing we don't know already, though.
What's a little concerning is how Nystrom played his last game on March 3, and the team saw almost no difference without him in the lineup. In fact, a fourth line of Taylor Beck, Paul Gaustad and Gabriel Bourque performed better than any combination with Nystrom on it. Now, possession stats aren't a great way to evaluate grinders, but consider that lines with Nystrom had a GF% of about 33. Without him the line was closer to 50%. They were scoring more and allowing less goals.
When Victor Bartley can fill your spot with minimal difference on the ice, it brings up a lot of questions. With the paycheck he's making, and players like Colton Sissons, Austin Watson, Miikka Salomaki and Vladislav Kamenev all vying for spots on the team, could their entry-level contracts and skill sets push him out?