The writing was on the wall that a return wasn’t in the cards with the cap-strapped Boston Bruins, so it was zero shock that former fourth liner Joakim Nordstrom signed a one-year deal with the Calgary Flames.
The gritty Nordstrom signed a one-year, one-way contract for the veteran minimum of $700,000 despite having a couple of solid campaigns for the Black and Gold as an energy winger adept at killing penalties and playing with a ton of heart. Nordstrom finished with four goals and seven points in 48 games with the Bruins last season, and consistently displayed the fearless willingness to block shots and throw the body despite being far from the biggest guy on the ice.
Last season was a bit of a step down statistically from his 2018-19 season with the B’s where he finished with seven goals, 12 points and an even plus/minus rating in 70 games while even registering some second line time with David Krejci. But Nordstrom still shined in the bubble playoffs in Toronto as a player willing to sacrifice the body for postseason success. Clearly the Flames took notice of the way he played too.
Either way, Nordstrom did his job well with the Bruins, but it was clear when the playoffs were over that he was going to make way next season for younger, internal fourth line candidates like Trent Frederic and Anton Blidh along with depth signing Greg McKegg.
Don Sweeney indicated over the weekend the only moves the Bruins would probably make going forward would be to improve their NHL roster, and an undersized, gritty fourth line penalty killer wasn’t going to move the Boston Bruins needle.
“I wouldn’t say we have anything imminent to put forth. We snagged Greg McKegg from a depth standpoint and [to] create internal completion as well,” said Sweeney. “As I’ve mentioned before, we have several players that are knocking on the door that we’d like them to see them continue to push, both in our forward group and our back-end.
“[It’s a] little bit of a growth opportunity. We still have to figure out how the season plays out, but we’re comfortable at some point in time that we’re going to be up and running, and our guys will be ready to go. We felt all along that we were going to need some internal growth.”
Given how difficult it’s been for many middle class NHL veterans to find jobs with the flat salary cap deadening things across the NHL, it’s really a credit to Nordstrom that he was able to get a guaranteed job in Calgary at all.