3 Players Impacted by DeBoer System Changes: Entree, Nils Lundkvist
Recently benefitting from surplus ice time, Nils Lundkvist may be seeing the largest positive swing in play. After Jim Nill burned a first-round pick to add a young defensive wild card to the offseason equation, Lundkvist has justified the show of faith by registering 4 apples and seizing a bulk of power play responsibilities. Nils’ emergence may have been understated to this point without the glaring absence of Miro in the lineup, hence the demand for his presence has given us the opportunity to see more of his game.
He’s stepped his second PP unit QB role up into the top spot, with Heiskanen sidelined, and chipped in close to 21 minutes of ice time per night. However, his offseason relocation circumstances highlight the impact of DeBoer’s system on how he’s able to leverage this opportunity to a mutual benefit.
Unfortunately for Nils as a New York Ranger, he was born right-handed. Behind a few talented and more established righties, Nils’ development became contingent on finding a situation more conducive to fostering young talent. Fortunately for Nils as a Dallas Star, recently hired bench boss Pete DeBoer is a staunch believer in playing defensemen on the side of their strong hand.
Returning Miro Heiskanen to his strong side on the left and failing to recapture John Klingberg as 1RD opened up the perfect spot for Nils to slot right into a role that gives his game room to grow. Thus far, the investment that the team has put into him has not been lost on Nils.
After matching his point total from last year, and doubling his career point total, the most important stats for Nils this season is much simpler. Tonight will mark 10 games played and he enters this matchup plus-1 on the stat sheet. To kick last year off, he only made it 7 games before getting scratched and eliminating any traction he was getting at the top level.
Everyone knows that you need to let the dish cook all the way through before removing it from the oven. Needless to say, any relative continuation of his success to start the campaign would warrant, nay require, a permanent residency in the top 4 of this defense core.