The great Tom Nilsson experiment has finally come to an end, as the Swedish defenceman has apparently signed with Djurgårdens IF of the SHL.
The translation says Tom Nilsson has returned to Sweden.
Nilsson was limited to 17 games with Utica in 16-17 https://t.co/6krQIAbFCY
— Ben Birnell (@OD_Birnell) May 2, 2017
As Ben Birnell notes here, Nilsson was limited to just 17 games in 2016-17, all with the Utica Comets. A large chunk of that missed time was due to injury, as Nilsson began the season on the Injured Reserve after hurting himself in training camp. Missing all of the exhibition games, Nilsson had the honour of being announced as part of the opening night roster at the home opener back in October, though of course he wouldn’t ever play for the Canucks.
As soon as he was healthy enough to hit the waiver wire, the Canucks shuffled him to Utica, where he made his season debut on November 18th. After a handful of games, he became a regular recipient of the rotating healthy scratch, before missing all of December with another injury. Upon his return, he spent an awful lot more time being a healthy scratch than actually playing for the Comets.
By the end of the season, Nilsson had collected three points, averaging an estimated 12 and a half minutes of ice time. He received occasional time on the penalty kill and no power play time. By my counts he finished the season with 17 games played, 29 games missed due to injury and a whopping 30 healthy scratches. It’s no surprise at all that he wouldn’t be interested in a second season in the same organization.
Nilsson is a former Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick, and this was his second tour of the American League. He had previously played 44 games with the Toronto Marlies in 2014-15, collecting six points. I’m not exactly sure what Jim Benning saw in Nilsson when he signed him last spring, but it certainly seems that then-Comets coach Travis Green didn’t see the same things. As far as departing AHL defencemen go, Chad Billins was a far bigger loss for the Comets.