Ex-Red Wing Gus Nyquist happy to face former team

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It will be an unusual sight to see Gustav Nyquist wearing a Columbus Blue Jackets jersey tonight.

After all, he spent the first 481 games of his NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings, scoring 125 goals with 170 assists. He was dealt to the San Jose Sharks during last season’s Trade Deadline, and he helped them advance to the Western Conference Finals. This summer, he signed a four-year, $22 million contract with the Blue Jackets.

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“We couldn’t be happier,” Nyquist said after the optional morning skate. “My family, we ended up here. We’ve come to a great place, a great organization, a great group of guys. It’s made me feel at home right away. The first quarter part of the season, it’s been great.”

This won’t be the first time that Nyquist faces his former teammates, however.

“I played them when I was in San Jose. We had them down there,” Nyquist said. “That was weird because it was so close to after the trade, so it almost like I thought, ‘No wait, I shouldn’t pass to that guy.’ It’s kind of one of those things because it’s so close to it. I think now it’ll be a little easier. The emotional part will probably be more when I go there and play in Detroit. Hopefully, we can have a good game here and build on things we’ve been doing here.”

“It’s always interesting, especially anytime you’re facing a former teammate,” Darren Helm said. “He was with the organization for a long time, it’s almost like family. Seeing someone like that on the other side, it’s always a bit of a change. When you get out there, it’ll be competitive but seeing him around the hallways right now, it’s good to catch up and see him.”

Head coach Jeff Blashill, who coached Nyquist during their time with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins, had nothing but good things to say about his former player.

“It was good to see Gus. I like Gus a lot,” Blashill said. “Gus and I were together a long time, won a championship together in the American League. He’s a great person, really good hockey player. I like him. It was good to see him.”

The Red Wings and Blue Jackets face off from Nationwide Arena tonight at 7:00 EST.