‘I don’t want to get comfortable’: Tristen Nielsen continues to grind with an NHL contract in his back pocket
Photo credit:@abbotsfordcanucks on IG
By Faber11 days ago
We weren’t able to track the DAWG rating numbers from the AHL due to their lack of publicly available stats but can confirm with the eye test on which player was the Abbotsford Canucks’ top-DAWG.
It was a runaway win for forward Tristen Nielsen.
Nielsen finished the season with 14 goals and 27 assists for 41 points in 64 games with Abbotsford. He was featured on both the penalty kill and the power play and played prominent roles on both special teams units. Nielsen was one of the first forwards to come out and kill penalties while being an entry machine with his speed on the power play.
Throughout his two AHL seasons, Nielsen has played all three forward positions but primarily plays centre and is used in the top-six for the farm club.
This summer, Nielsen earned himself a two-year entry-level contract with the Vancouver Canucks and that graduates him from his AHL contract that he signed back in 2021.
“It was just such a blessing,” said Nielsen when asked about the contract. “Obviously, to do it with my home province is even a bigger treat, but it does show that I put in the work and I’ve just got to believe in myself and I know I can do it.”
Nielsen spoke about seeing other players in Abbotsford get an opportunity with the NHL club on a call-up and wants to follow in those footsteps. He mentioned Phil Di Giuseppe working his way up to the NHL and then staying there last season once he won over the coach’s trust. He spoke about being ready at any time and that a call-up situation has a lot to do with timing along with what role a player can play.
The good news for Nielsen is that he can do a bit of everything for a hockey team. As we mentioned earlier, he can play on both special teams units, though he will likely be used on the penalty kill at the NHL level and not so much on the power play.
He later spoke about the experience he gained from getting meaningful playoff games in the AHL last year with Abbotsford.
“It just shows you what kind of character you have,” said Nielsen about learning from the AHL playoffs. “Those games are always crazy and hard and you’ve got to go to the hard areas to win playoffs. You see guys play through injuries and guys play hard, especially during playoffs. So I think if you can succeed in the playoffs and be a successful player there it’s just a big bonus going into every season.”
An NHL contract isn’t going to slow down the DAWG in Nielsen. He is hungry as ever and the NHL contract is just part of the process of achieving his goal of playing in the world’s best hockey league.
“I don’t want to get comfortable and you want to always hold yourself to a high standard and push yourself every day,” said Nielsen. “I feel like when you get comfortable, you put yourself back because you get relaxed.”
We asked Nielsen what he did to celebrate signing his NHL contract on July 1st and he told CanucksArmy that he went to his billet family’s home from his time with the Vancouver Giants and had a great dinner with them before heading over to his girlfriend’s house to have a small celebration about the contract that included a wonderful facetime call with his family.
There’s a massive financial incentive for Nielsen to make the NHL. He would earn $775,000 a season if he plays in the NHL for a base salary while his AHL salary is just $82,500. We’re rooting for this DAWG to get a chance and you know he will lay it all on the line once that NHL opportunity comes his way.
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