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Wings to call up first-year pro, Nyquist

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Gustav Nyquist
DETROIT – With Fabian Brunnstrom clearing waivers this afternoon, the Red Wings’ brass has decided to do something that they typically don’t do – call-up a first-year pro.

Rookie forward Gustav Nyquist has played in just 17 pro hockey games, but he’ll get his NHL indoctrination Tuesday night when the Wings host the Minnesota Wild at Joe Louis Arena.

The 22-year-old forward, who scored two goals in the Wings’ preseason finale, has nine points in nine AHL games this season for the Grand Rapids Griffins.

The Wings, who have scored nine goals in the last five games, will be looking for scoring from their up-and-coming your star.

“We need to score some goals,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said.

The Wings are currently in a four-game losing skid, and have been outscored, 16-4, during the streak. Nyquist may not be the antidote, but they plan on giving the former two-time Hobey Baker Award finalist an opportunity to audition for a spot in the lineup.

“I liked him in training camp,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I thought he was an NHL player in training camp. If you go back and read my quotes, I think that’s what I said. And I think he still is. I think he’s a guy who can help our team.”

Nyquist was the leading scorer at the University of Maine for three years, compiling 50 goals and 94 assists in 113 collegiate games. He left school early to sign a three-year entry level contract with the Wings last March.

In training camp, Babcock likened the speedy Nyquist to Pavel Datsyuk, saying that he was an even better skater with the puck.

“He wants the puck and he’s a skilled play who doesn’t scare you to death,” Babcock said. “He’s good without the puck and he’s been great in the American League, and the ball is in his court now, and he’ll come up and we’ll see what he can do.”

Babcock said that he’ll wait until after Tuesday’s morning skate to decide who Nyquist will be paired with.

As for Brunnstrom, he will report to Grand Rapids where he’ll make his Griffins’ debut Wednesday against Lake Erie.

“I was disappointed a little bit,” Brunnstrom said. “Of course I want to stay here, but at the same time, I know the situation. They've got good forwards here and that's just the way it is. It will be fun to play some games. I haven't played in awhile. I understand the situation. I need to play games. We'll see how it goes.”

With his wife expecting the couple’s first child at the end of November, Brunnstrom said he’s happy to remain in the Wings’ organization.

“I don't know what was going to happen if Calgary or Edmonton picked me up,” he said. “It would be pretty hard for our family situation.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

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