Nystrom's Wild will take Iggy

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:14 PM ET

Hey, Eric Nystrom: Have you heard this story before?

The Calgary Flames are slumping. Head coach Brent Sutter is embattled because the perception remains the players aren’t on the same page.

Oh yeah, one more thing, people are debating whether Jarome Iginla should be traded.

“Sounds pretty standard,” said Nystrom, who has moved on from the Flames to the Minnesota Wild.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in Calgary or the Twin Cities, debate whether Iginla should be traded can be heard across the league.

Nystrom, aware all too well of Iginla’s early season struggles, would happily drive to the airport to pick up the Flames captain if he was dealt to the Wild, not that he figures the Flames will deal away the franchise’s all-time offensive leader in most every category.

“Obviously everybody’s going to look at him because he’s the go-to guy,” Nystrom said. “To automatically think trading him is going to make things better is a bad approach. He’s one of the best players in the league and you don’t replace a guy like that.

“It’s still early, and there’s a lot of time for things to go the other way. I think 29 other teams would take him in a heartbeat.

“I’m sure it’s frustrating for him to feel the pressure, and that comes to the territory, but he brings a different element than goals. The way he approaches the game and is in the room, it’s so contagious. He’s so positive and works so hard.

“He’ll be rewarded soon enough.”

Then again, Nystrom wouldn’t mind being rewarded himself.

The 10th overall choice in the 2002 draft who signed a three-year, US$4.2-million deal with the Wild in the off-season, has no points and 11 penalty minutes in 11 games this season.

It’s not the pace he had last season with Calgary, an 11-goal, 19-point season.

Bring up his numbers and you can envision the facepalm while Nystrom says, “Oh geez.

“The numbers haven’t been great, but the past few games I’ve been playing well, getting chances and creating energy, which is the most important part of my game. Man, I’ve had some great chances, they just haven’t gone in.

“It’s only a matter of time before they come in bunches.”

Maybe a visit from his old friends and teammates Friday night at the Xcel Energy Center would do the trick.

“It’s funny how guys seem to score against their old teams, and I am excited to play against Calgary, against guys I’m great friends with,” he said.

Nystrom had a great game last season when he played on Long Island for the first time in his career, one goal and one assist. In fact, he was arguably Calgary’s best player when the Flames were clinging to playoff hopes.

However, the Flames not only couldn’t offer him the money Minnesota stepped up with, but wouldn’t provide the opportunity.

Debate all you want whether the Flames have more depth with their forwards, but Nystrom’s role was going to remain on the fourth line.

In Minnesota, he’s on the third line mainly with John Madden and Cal Clutterbuck, as well as seeing second unit powerplay time.

“I wanted to be a guy who could help a team win, and addition people say is a key ingredient,” Nystrom said. “They really liked the way I play and how I could fit in. It was hard to say no.”

“I have nothing but great things to say about my time there, the guys there, the management there. The opportunity came to go to free agency and Minnesota was a team that thought I could fit in well and be a key part of a team moving forward.

“I was flattered about being called a key piece and it meant a lot to me.”

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/RandySportak


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