Red Wings' Gustav Nyquist taking it day by day as trade deadline nears
Detroit — Gustav Nyquist was feeling better Tuesday after battling an illness the last couple of days.
It’s a good thing, too, because these next several days, Nyquist is going to need all the energy he can muster.
The NHL trade deadline is 3 p.m. Monday, and Nyquist’s name continues to be floated as a potential target for a playoff contender.
Nyquist can be an unrestricted free agent this summer, which makes him a prime rental for a team needing depth for the upcoming playoffs.
Nyquist has been through trade rumors before. But, maybe, never to this extent.
“It’s a little bit of a new situation for me, obviously, going into the last year of my contract,” Nyquist said. “It’s different. But we still have a week left. Let’s see what happens.
“I’m sure there will be more questions to talk about (in the days ahead). Just take it one day a time.”
Nyquist, 29, is approaching a career-best season, with 48 points (15 goals, 33 assists) so far. His career best is 54 points (27 goals, 27 assists) in 2014-15.
Having a full no-trade clause gives Nyquist the power over any potential move. Nyquist wouldn’t say Tuesday whether he’ll waive it, or has.
Nyquist said his representative and general manager Ken Holland have had preliminary discussions, but wouldn’t say how productive they’ve been.
Holland has said he’ll listen to any offers for Nyquist, or any of the Wings’ potential unrestricted free agents, but isn’t going to give away any of the assets.
Reportedly, the Wings would want a first-round draft pick for Nyquist to begin any trade discussions.
“Little bit, just talking,” Nyquist said of the talks his camp have had with Holland. “Instead of saying too much, or too little, I’m just going to go with no comment.
“It has to work for either side. That’s about as much as I will say.”
Coach Jeff Blashill talked Friday with Nyquist about the upcoming deadline, and how to approach it.
Blashill told Nyquist to continue playing great hockey — and everything will take care of itself.
“I know when you play great hockey, you get tons of opportunities, you make more money, you stay in the league longer. Life is awesome,” Blashill said. “So that’s way better. If you let it (trade speculation) affect you, and you don’t play great hockey, there’s less opportunity and less money and you’re not in the league.
“Control what you can control, and that’s your game.”
Blashill felt Nyquist was one of the best players in Saturday’s game in Philadelphia, before an illness kept Nyquist from playing the next day.
“You have to compartmentalize, put business on one side and hockey side on the other,” Blashill said of the gist of his conversation with Nyquist. “Make sure you’re playing great hockey. He appreciated the conversation, and he understood, and he’s in a pretty good spot.”
Nyquist’s friend, Tomas Tatar, was traded by the Wings at last year’s trade deadline to Vegas in a deal that fetched the Wings first-, second- and third-round draft picks in varying years.
“You always talk about it, especially when you hear your name or someone’s name,” Nyquist said. “Both me and him, we’d heard our names before. That kind of happened last minute, so that was kind of a surprise.
“But I’m happy Tats is doing well (in Montreal, after being traded from Vegas). He’s a good friend of mine, and it’s been working out well for him in Montreal.”
With Nyquist unavailable Sunday, Blashill shifted Anthony Mantha on the top line with Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi.
The line played so well, that Blashill kept that line for Tuesday’s practice, with Nyquist shifting to a line with Frans Nielsen and Thomas Vanek.
“Anthony’s played with Dylan and he was playing real well before (Mantha) hurt his hand (in December),” Blashill said. “Nyquist has played real well with Dylan, as well. It might have something to say about Dylan; he’s done a good job of driving offense for sure in the league.
“But those guys have both played well. Nyquist has played good hockey when he’s been away from Dylan, too, and he certainly has with Vanek and with Nielsen. They’re all kind of thinkers, which Nyquist tends to like playing with thinkers, like that.”
Forward Filip Zadina has scored in four consecutive games in Grand Rapids, and last year’s first-round draft pick is reportedly playing some of his best all-around hockey of the season in the last couple weeks.
Blashill was planning on talking with Griffins coach Ben Simon, with Zadina likely to be in the conversation.
“My understanding on Zadina is he’s played better,” said Blashill, adding Zadina and Martin Frk, who the Wings sent down last week after Frk cleared waivers, formed chemistry playing on a line. “With Marty, you have a chance to play with an elite American League player. He’s not a center, but he’s an elite American League player, and hopefully he’ll have great chemistry and Zadina can build his game.
“When I’ve watched him, he’s been pretty good defensively and he has a pretty mature game for a young player. He just needs to continue being dangerous. I’d love to see him be ultra-dangerous down there.”
Blackhawks at Red Wings
Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
TV/radio: NBC Sports Network/97.1 FM
Outlook: Chicago (25-26-9, 59 points) has worked its way back into the Western Conference wildcard picture … The Blackhawks have won eight of their last 10 games, including a wild 8-7 victory Monday over Ottawa. … RW Patrick Kane (36 goals, 90 points) is having an MVP-caliber season.