Although his father is Mr. Islander, Eric Nystrom says no one should jump to a conclusion he’s bolting Calgary for New York as an unrestricted free agent.
Bob Nystrom is still associated with the New York Islanders, one of 30 teams open to bid on Nystrom come July 1.
But Eric Nystrom feels part of Calgary after playing all 204 games of his NHL career with the Flames.
“That’s purely speculation because I have a connection with them,” said the Flames winger, who was a first-round draft pick by the team in 2002.
“This is where I’ve always been and this is where my roots are. Every player doesn’t play for their home team. At this moment, I haven’t thought about that. I’m still upset there are other teams playing and we’re not.”
Nystrom’s hockey season isn’t finished anyway. He has accepted an invitation to join Team USA at the world championships in Germany starting May 7. Flames teammate David Moss will join him and defenceman Mark Giordano will suit up for Canada.
“I’ve played in world juniors and under-18s, and it’s a thrill to represent your country. I’m excited for the chance to do it again,” Nystrom said at the Saddledome during Flames garbage-bag day.
“It should be a lot of fun. I’m very excited. This is a great opportunity. I was feeling great at the end of the season after the Olympic break so I’m excited to continue to play some hockey.”
Nystrom had a strong season for the Flames on the fourth line, considering he had a groin injury midway through that he only revealed Wednesday.
Despite the ailment, the 27-year-old played all 82 games and finished with 11 goals and 19 points, both career highs. He was also even for the first time in his career.
“It started off well and I came out of the gate strong but I suffered a groin injury in the middle of the season and that hampered me,” Nystrom said.
“It kept me from playing my game. It made me take a step back. I had a chance during the Olympic break to rest and recover and come back the way I was at the start of the year. It felt great to do that. Overall, it was a solid year but I wish that didn’t happen.
“I wasn’t as fast and I could get in there and do things I wanted. It was frustrating. For a long time too. The only positive from the Olympic break was the rest I got.”
— Ian Busby