Thanks to a late-season trade, former University of Maine two-time Hobey Baker Award finalist and All-American forward Gustav Nyquist will be returning to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since the 2019-20 season.
Nyquist is one of five former UMaine players who will be competing in the playoffs, which begin Monday.
On Feb. 28, the 33-year-old Nyquist was traded by the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Minnesota Wild for a fifth-round draft pick this year. Columbus did not make the playoffs, but Minnesota did.
Nyquist was sidelined with a shoulder injury at the time he was traded but took the ice for the first time since the injury earlier this month. He had a goal and four assists in three games for the Wild.
The 12-year pro had 10 goals and 12 assists in 48 games for Columbus and the former three-time 20-goal scorer for the Detroit Red Wings now has 175 goals and 253 assists for 428 points in 703 NHL regular season games.
He is 19th on UMaine’s all-time scoring list with 144 points in 113 games on 50 goals and 94 assists.
The other former Black Bears who will be vying for the Stanley Cup will be goalie Jeremy Swayman of the Boston Bruins, Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Ben Hutton, Florida Panthers left wing Ryan Lomberg and Edmonton Oilers center Devin Shore.
The Bruins, who won the Presidents’ Trophy for most regular season points and set the NHL record for most points (135) and most wins (65) in a season, are coached by former UMaine All-American and Hobey Baker finalist Jim Montgomery, who is UMaine’s all-time leading scorer with 301 points.
The 24-year-old Swayman is the backup to Linus Ullmark but Montgomery rotates them on a regular basis. Swayman finished the regular season with a 24-6 record along with four overtime losses and he also had a 2.27 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage in 37 games. He also posted four shutouts.
The hard-nosed 28-year-old Lomberg scored 12 goals and also had 8 assists while playing in all 82 Florida Panthers games.
Lomberg and the Panthers will be taking on the Bruins in the first round of the playoffs.
Former UMaine All-Americans and teammates Hutton and Shore were in and out of the lineup for their respective teams.
The 29-year-old Hutton played in 31 games for the Golden Knights and had three goals and five assists. He owns the UMaine record for most goals in a season by a defenseman with 15.
Shore, who is 28, appeared in 47 games for the Oilers and had a goal and eight assists.
Oliver Bjorkstrand, the 28-year-old son of former UMaine captain Todd Bjorkstrand, will also be competing in the playoffs. The Seattle Kraken right winger had 20 goals and 25 assists in 81 games this season.
Oliver Wahlstrom, son of former Black Bear Joakim Wahlstrom, is a forward for the playoff-bound Islanders but he has been lost for the season due to a knee injury. He had seven goals and nine assists in 35 games before getting hurt.