After crossing "center" off his shopping list with the signing of Matt Cullen
, General Manager Chuck Fletcher moved on to adding more of his beloved "grit."
He got that when the Wild signed left wing Eric Nystrom to a three-year contract. Nystrom should be familiar to Wild players and fans after playing the past four seasons with the Northwest Division's Calgary Flames. He enjoyed his best season a year ago, posting 11 goals and eight assists while playing all 82 games.
“I’m very excited to be a part of this organization,” Nystrom said. “The Wild is heading in the right direction, and I will give everything I have to help the team win.”
The native of Syosset, New York and the son of NHL legend Bob Nystrom, plays the hard-nosed game, and he also brings character to a team, which is something Fletcher saw as a need after last year.
"I really felt we needed to improve the character of our group, the work ethic of our group and the leadership in our room," said the second year GM.
Nystrom has no problem with that. He's just excited to bring his hard-working game to a team that came after him hard at the start of free agency.
"I'm just an honest player that's going to work as hard as I can every night, and finish my checks, go to the front of the net and do the little things that help teams win," he said. "Hopefully it becomes contagious and spreads throughout the team that we can put something special together."
Nystrom was taken with the 10th overall selection in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, taken by Calgary two spots after Pierre-Marc Bouchard
. He played four seasons at the University of Michigan, before joining Calgary for two games during the 2005-06 season.