Preds bring free agent Eric Nystrom into the fold

Eric Nystrom (Bridget Samuels)

According to Kevin Allen of USA Today, the Nashville Predators have signed free agent winger Eric Nystrom.

This is the fifth player (four forwards, one goalie) signed by the Preds today.

Nystrom, 30, is the son of New York Islanders legend Bob Nystrom who famously scored the game-winning goal in overtime of game six of the Stanley Cup Final against the Philadelphia Flyers in 1980.

The younger Nystrom was a first round pick (10th overall) of the Calgary Flames back in 2002. Despite being a contributor for Team USA at the World Junior Championships in both 2002 and 2003, as well as captaining the University of Michigan Wolverines in 2004-05, Eric never really found a scoring touch at the NHL level. His best season was in 2010-11 when he bagged 16 goals and 21 points in 74 games with the Dallas Stars.

That 16-goal outburst from the bottom of the lineup will remind many Preds fans of Matt Halischuk, who the team did not qualify as a restricted free agent.

Nystrom is coming off a three-year deal that paid him $1.4 million per year.

He’s played for three NHL clubs during his seven-year career: Calgary, Dallas and the Minnesota Wild. He has tallied 83 points in 408 career games. Not exactly the top six forward the Predators are looking for.

And with an abundance of bottom six forwards already on the roster, it will be interesting to see where Nystrom fits in.’

The official press release is below.

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Nashville, Tenn. – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed forward Eric Nystrom to a four-year, $10 million contract. He will make $2 million in both 2013-14 and 2014-15 and $3 million in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Nystrom, 30 (2/14/83), has spent the last two seasons with the Dallas Stars, posting 11 points (7g-4a), 61 penalty minutes and ranked among the League leaders in hits (122) while playing in all 48 games in 2012-13, and 21 points (16g-5a) in 74 games during his last full campaign in 2011-12. Since his rookie season with the Calgary organization in 2005-06, the 6-1, 193-pound left wing has 83 points (46g-37a) and 306 penalty minutes in 408 NHL games.

Calgary’s first selection, 10th overall (first round), in the 2002 Entry Draft, the Syosset, N.Y., native posted 11 points (56g-55a) in 160 games at the University of Michigan from 2001-05, winning three CCHA titles and being named the conference’s top defensive forward while captaining the Wolverines in 2004-05. He has represented Team USA on the international stage on five occasions – the 2010 World Championships, the 2002 and 2003 World Junior Championships, the 2001 World Under-18 Championships and the 1999 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. His father, Bob Nystrom, played in the NHL for 14 years with New York Islanders, having his No. 23 retired by the them after helping the team claim four Stanley Cup titles.

Nystrom is on Twitter @enystrom23.

PHOTO CREDIT: Bridget Samuels (used with permission)