Saturday, January 10, 2015

Eric Nystrom Jersey Card

The Nashville Predators announced this week that they had put forwards James Neal and Eric Nystrom on injured reserve. The team, currently leading the Central Division, will now face its toughest bit of adversity this season, although having Pekka Rinne in nets still guarantees they will remain competitive in close games.

Nystrom is a former Calgary Flames first round pick chosen 10th overall in 2002, ahead of Keith Ballard (11th), Alexander Semin (13th), Chris Higgins (14th), Alexander Steen (24th), Cam Ward (25th), Duncan Keith (54th), Johnny Boychuk (61st), Valtteri Filppula (95th) and Dennis Wideman (241st). It was a year filled with gritty role players.

Expectation for the 6'1'', 195-pound winger may have been a tad too high in Calgary, though, particularly as he was drafted as ''Bob Nystrom's son'', which comes with hefty postseason expectations. And while ''Calgary'' and ''postseason'' haven't often been said in the same sentence of late, he did score a game-winning goal for the team in the 2008-09 playoffs.

Just like his father, Eric is a hard-working, two-way player with a decent hockey sense and a bit of a mean edge. His goals are harder to come by, however, with 66 so far in his ninth NHL season.

Before this season, his physical play had teetered on a very fine line between ''on the edge'' and ''illegal''; an incident between him and the Edmonton Oilers' Taylor Fedun resulted in the NHL revising its icing rule, and hits on Kris Letang and Daniel Brière got serious media attention as well as calls for suspensions.

He hit the 500-game plateau earlier this season, though, and has seemed very comfortable on the Preds' fourth line this year. Ironically, Nashville is the team against whom he scored his very first NHL goal. He had posted his 100th career point last year.

My favourite YouTube moment of his is when he recreated the famous striptease scene from Slap Shot for a charity event when he was in the AHL:

And my favourite cardboard moment of his is this one, shown either back-checking or about to initiate contact while with the Flames, in their white (then-home) uniform, from Upper Deck's 2005-06 Ice collection (card #FU-EN of the Fresh Ice sub-set), featuring a three-colour jersey swatch from a photo shoot:
I've seen this one go for less than $5 on Ebay, albeit not of the three-colour variety.

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