Joakim Nygard’s first year with the Edmonton Oilers was far from perfect.
He played in only 33 games scoring nine points this year and in a January 29th game, he suffered a broken hand that finished his regular season. His season was over just as he was starting to find his stride.
It was a tough start for the Swede who joined the Oilers from the SHL’s Farjestad BK. He was a number of flyers that GM Ken Holland filed last summer and Nygard brought a lot to the table.
He has a strong skill set that can translate to the NHL. He’s got great feet and speed and is heavy in on the forecheck as a bottom-six player.
And his underlying numbers, for the most part, have been really good. While his 5v5 CF% is low at 44.88 percent and his GF% is 48.15, he makes up for it in other ways. A 5v5 xGF% of 53.28 is one way, his ability to control play in high-danger area is another.
His HFCF% jumps to 59.81 percent and his HDGF% jumps to 53.85. HIs HDCF% ranked 11th in the NHL among the 392 forwards who played as many minutes as Nygard.
Even more, his isolated impact charts are very, very good. Thanks to Micah Blake McCurdy’s hockeyviz.com, we’re able to see that he has a three percent higher impact on offence than league average, and an amazing seven percent better impact on the defensive zone than league average.
He loves to take shots from in tight on opponents, and helps swallow up chances on the right side of the ice in the defensive zone.
These are all really important things to look at when we break down Nygard’s game. It’s undeniably a big reason why the Edmonton Oilers signed him to a one-year extension weeks after his season ended.
And with that, Nygard has a chance to be an impact player for the Edmonton Oilers in the playoffs this year. Against Chicago’s weak bottom six, he’ll help to swallow up the chances they may get and I can see him chipping in depth scoring, too. He was a point-producer in the SHL after all.
He only saw 17 minutes of special teams play this year and I don’t think he’ll get any looks there in the playoffs unless injuries occur. I could see his speed being an asset on the penalty kill, but his impact is going to be at 5v5.
I’m excited to see what he can bring to the table now that he’s fully recovered.
On Twitter: @zjlaing