Jan 7, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars left wing Eric Nystrom (24) prepares to face the Edmonton Oilers at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeated the Oilers 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Making the Grade: Eric Nystrom


With the regular season over, it’s time for players around the league to be evaluated for their effectiveness and their value to a team. We’ll be doing the same thing throughout the month of May, and we’d love to hear your opinions on our grading.

We’ll travel through the team in numerical order this year and we’ll hit every individual that was on the roster as of Saturday April 27; the official end of the Stars season.

Eric Nystrom

There are few members of the Stars roster fans have come to expect a lot from; Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson, Kari Lehtonen, and now Eric Nystrom. In just two years with the Stars, Nystrom has posted more than 30 points for the team; 23 points from goals. Last year, Nystrom scored his career-high in goals with 16, and looked primed to tie or top it this year, scoring seven in the post-lockout season’s 48 games.

Nystrom was one of only five members of the Stars roster to play in every game post-lockout. Only Stephane Robidas, Loui Eriksson, Cody Eakin and Brenden Dillon joined him. Along with Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson, Nystrom led the team in game-winning goals with three.

But it hasn’t just been Nystrom’s ability to score that has gained him such a swath of fans, and breaking his career-high in goals may not have been the only record he could’ve broken had the season gone the full 82 games; he likely would’ve broken his career-high in penalty minutes too. Nystrom never shied from a fight this season, and only two members of the Stars roster spent more time in the penalty box. With 61 total minutes in the sin bin, it’s no wonder Nystrom was featured in two of the top 15 best fights of the season by PuckDrunkLove. Check out all the mayhem here.

As has seemed to be the norm, Nystrom struggled in assists and the plus/minus, recording an NHL career-low four assists and closing out the season at a minus three. But assists have never proven to be Nystrom’s forte, he only recorded double digits in assists while in the AHL and other minor leagues, and finished his one-year stint with the Minnesota Wild with a minus 16.

As of the end of the 2012-2013 season, Nystrom is an unrestricted free agent, and not much has been said regarding his return to the Stars next year. After reflecting on his performance over the past two seasons though, not resigning him would be a very poor decision on behalf of the organization.

Because of his affinity for finding the back of the net, and for his ability to ramp up the energy of a game with the swing of a fist, or five, I give Eric Nystrom a B for the 2012-2013 season.

Goal scoring: A

Assists: C

Plus/Minus: C

On-ice presence and performance: A

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