Boston Bruins fans can say goodbye to Joakim Nordstrom. On Monday, Nordstrom signed a one-year deal with the Calgary Flames for $700,000. Nordstrom never scored at a high rate-he only tallied 4 goals and 7 points last year-but his high energy level and elite penalty-killing ability made him one of my favorite players.
Never in my lifetime have I flipped my stance on a Bruins player like I did with Nordstrom. At first, all I saw was his inability to score. I just didn’t see the point of putting him on the ice.
His playoff goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs in game 7 of the first round of the 2019 playoffs opened my eyes to a player that always brought the juice.
Nordstrom was an integral part of a strong Bruins penalty kill in his two years with the team. The Bruins penalty kill ranked third in the NHL last season, working at an 84.3% rate. Nordstrom’s hustle and body checking made him one of the most noticeable Bruins players in the bubble playoffs.
Don Sweeney is acting on a tight budget. After the signings of Karson Kuhlman and Zach Senyshyn, the Bruins have just over $7 million in cap space to sign restricted free agent Jake Debrusk and potentially sign Zdeno Chara. With forward Par Lindholm on the books for $850,000, it doesn’t make sense to sign Nordstrom. While you can’t fault Sweeny for letting Nordstrom go given the cap situation, you can blame Sweeney for creating this problem.
Am I nitpicking potentially irrelevant fourth line moves? Yes, yes, I am. But Lindholm is even more limited offensively than Nordstrom and is paid slightly more. Lindholm has a career-high of 3 goals compared to Nordstrom’s 10 goals. Lindholm only scored 2 times in 126 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs before signing with the Bruins. Lindholm is a good penalty killer, but his overall game doesn’t make as big of an impact as Nordstrom’s game.
Nordstrom’s departure isn’t going to break the back of the Bruins. But that doesn’t make it any easier to see him leave. Good luck in Calgary Mr. Nordstrom, Bruins fans will be rooting for you.