According to reports on Twitter, the Edmonton Oilers have signed 26-year-old Swedish free agent forward, Joakim Nygard, to an NHL contract, though the contract details have not yet been released.
After finishing up his most successful season with the SHL’s Farjestads BK Karlstad, Joakim Nygard had reportedly drawn interest from upwards of 20 NHL teams, but chose to sign with the Edmonton Oilers. In 52 games played, the left-winger amassed 35 points (21G, 14A) in 2018-19 which ranked him third in overall team scoring with Farjestads BK Karlstad. Though you may not expect it, Nygard’s 21 goals actually landed him in second place in SHL goal scoring, trailing only Blue Jackets’ prospect Emil Bemstrom who finished his year with 23. For a team that is gagging for offence and wingers in general, the Oilers took a low-risk chance on a guy that could potentially play here as early as next year.
So who is Joakim Nygard and what did the Oilers see in him?
Scouting report from guys in Sweden. "Nygard is very fast and a dogged worker. Smart player, get up and down the ice. Don't expect big points in NHL. Also can kill penalties." #Oilers Nygard
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) May 23, 2019
Over at Elite Prospects, friend of the Nation, Uffe Bodin, recently wrote about Nygard’s game and what his next team might expect from him:
“It’s most likely the goals that have made the undrafted free agent interesting to more than 20 NHL teams, but it’s really his ability to play a complete 200 ft. game that gives him a shot at becoming a regular in the league next season.
Speed is the key word here. Joakim Nygård is one of, if not the fastest player in the SHL right now. He owns the kind of footspeed that can overwhelm opposing defensemen and leave them in a pile of dust, but also to put pressure on the forecheck and the backcheck. Carl Hagelin would be an obvious comparison… Early in his career, speed was the only asset Nygård really had. Thanks to hard work and good schooling, he has been able to build a nice game around that foundation.”
As rumours started to circulate that Nygard would be coming over to North America, TSN’s Darren Dreger had this to say:
“He is a 26-year-old forward who’s had a very good year in the Swedish Hockey League playing with Farjestad. His agent, Matt Keator, has been fielding NHL interest from several clubs for several months now. To be frank, of the teams interested, Ottawa and Calgary, they’re both in on this guy hard. NHL general managers have gone to Sweden. They’re going to Sweden as they want another look. He’s being compared to Carl Hagelin. I had one GM tell me that this guy can flat out fly. And also what’s intriguing and attractive about Joakim Nygard is the fact that at 26 he’s got to sign a one-year entry-level contract deal. So, it’s almost like a one-year test drive. See how he works out in the National Hockey League and then you can extend after that. It sounds like he will be in the NHL next season.”
So why Edmonton? For the answer, we head back to EP’s Uffe Bodin:
I guess we have a winner…
My theory is that Nygård chose the Oilers since it gives him a better shot at making the opening day roster. And I believe he likes the hiring of Ken Holland too. https://t.co/6VgNxhFT4a
— Uffe Bodin (@UffeBodin) May 23, 2019
Obviously, we’ll have to wait and see how this signing works out and what Nygard will bring to the table, but, from where I blog, I see this as a low-risk add with the potential for a decent ROI if he can come in and find a way to contribute. Considering how shallow the Oilers’ depth chart is on the left side, the reality is that Nygard will have a decent chance to come in and grab a spot and I’ll be intrigued to see how he performs at training camp. I mean, it’s not like there’s a whole lot of competition for him on that left side. Either way, I think we can all agree that the Oilers needed to add more speed to their roster and, according to all reports, Nygard has plenty to burn and that’ll be a welcomed addition to a team that was often criticized for being too slow.
What do you guys think?
JOAKIM NYGARD’S CAREER SO FAR
|2012-13||Farjestads BK Karlstad||SEL||28||1||1||2||31||-2||4|
|2013-14||Farjestads BK Karlstad||SweHL||50||3||11||14||12||-3||15||4||4||4|
|2014-15||Farjestads BK Karlstad||SweHL||44||9||5||14||10||-7||—||—||—||—||—|
|2015-16||Farjestads BK Karlstad||SweHL||47||12||7||19||16||-2||5||1||1|
|2016-17||Farjestads BK Karlstad||SweHL||52||16||13||29||26||15||7||3||3||2|
|2017-18||Farjestads BK Karlstad||SweHL||52||17||17||34||28||9||6||1||1||2||4|
|2018-19||Farjestads BK Karlstad||SweHL||52||21||14||35||20||15|