Another Edmonton Oiler bound for Europe on loan, this one from the NHL roster

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The wording of Jack Michaels’ tweet indicates that it will be just for the start of the SHL season, not the entire campaign as is the case with the other players named. Given the Swedish League’s reluctance to include “out” clauses after a massive mid-season exodus at the end of the 2012-13 NHL lockout, some sort of special dispensation might have been needed, but we’re not privy to those details just yet.

From an organizational perspective, this loan makes very good sense. The Oilers originally signed Nygard from Farjestad last summer. At the time he was a seven-year SHL veteran, all with the same organization to which he now returns.  Over those years he had improved his goals totals every single year, eventually sniping 21 in 2018-19 to rank second in the entire league. That’s when Ken Holland convinced him to give the NHL a shot.

Nygard started the season with the big-league club, scoring his first NHL goal (and a big one) in his second game. The Oilers were playing musical chairs in the bottom six in the opening stretch, and it didn’t help when Nygard was sidelined for a month with a rib injury suffered in mid-October. He worked his way back into the rotation, playing about 10 minutes a night as he continued to adjust to the North American game.

Speed was never a problem, indeed Nygard gained some notoriety when he beat Connor McDavid in the fastest skater event at the Oilers skills competition. But as time went on he started to stand out for the gritty side of his game, for his willingness to engage in, and win, puck battles. The scoring didn’t follow — not that surprising when one considers his most common linemates were Riley Sheahan, Alex Chiasson, Gaetan Haas, and Josh Archibald. But as the season went along he started to get some shifts with McDavid and looked good in the cameo role.


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