Most Improved: Gustav Nyquist
I have been pleasantly surprised by how big of an impact Gus Nyquist has made on the Predators in the first half. He was a pretty underwhelming free agency pickup in the 2023 offseason, and at most he was a second line fill-in.
Not only has Nyquist overcame those expectations so far, but he has been the final piece to a Predators top line that's very reliable with Ryan O'Reilly at center and Forsberg at wing. That third spot with O'Reilly ad Forsberg was up in the air in training camp.
Nyquist has already cruised past his point total from last season in a broken up year playing mostly for Columbus, but appearing in three games for Minnesota as well. He had just 27 points as an aging veteran viewed as being well past his prime.
At age 34, Nyquist is on pace to set a new career high in points for a season. Pretty remarkable achievement as he approaches 800 games in the NHL, which he should reach next season if he's able to stay healthy.
Nyquist is third on the Predators in assists and points, and fourth in goals and shots on goal. If the Predators can sneak into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Nyquist will be a major reason why and will be vital to winning a first round series.