Monday, June 29, 2009

Focus on a Thrasher: Nathan Oystrick

Oystrick, Nathan Oystrick. Oysters looks like something out of a James Bond movie in this picture from Casino Night. He has the most amazing blue eyes. And, he's been super nice the two times I met him. Unfortunately he does NOT deal good hands at black jack...or he didn't to Shauna. While he looked devastatingly handsome in his tux (ice cream man suit) he sucked the faux money right out of our pockets.

Let's find out a little more about Nathan.

Nathan was born on December 17, 1982 in Regina, Saskatchewan.

He started his hockey career in the 1999-2000 season with the Regina Pat Canadians of the SMHL. He played 43 games and scored 6 goals and 22 assists. Oysters also amassed 214 penalty minutes (nice start!)

Nathan went on to spend two seasons in the BCHL with the South Surrey Eagles.

In those two seasons, Nathan played in 110 games, scored 24 goals and 77 assists for a total of 101 points. He also racked up 372 penalty minutes.

In the 2002 NHL Draft, Nathan was drafted in the 7th round(198th overall)by the Atlanta Thrashers.

In 2002, after being drafted by the Thrashers, Nathan went to "get his learn on" at Northern Michigan University.

In 2002-03, Oysters was fourth among Northern Michigan defensemen, was fifth among the team's freshmen and seventh among the club's underclassmen in scoring.

Oystrick had a breakout year with Northern Michigan in 2003-04 as a sophomore as he benefited from more ice time. He had 8 goals, 28 assists, was +5 with 98 penalty minutes in 39 games. He made the CCHA Second Team All-Stars. He was second in team scoring and first among defensemen.

One thing Nathan had to get used to was not fighting while in college. Oysters was the type to drop the gloves in junior, but admitted the rule against fighting in college was a change.

In an interview with Hockey's Future in 2004, Nathan said:
There are some times I want to go out there and drop the gloves with someone and rip some guy’s head off, but I have to control myself [laughs]. But I have to still play the body and play hard on my man. The only difference from junior is I can’t drop the gloves and go with someone.”

Oystrick had two more successful years with Northern Michigan University. He attended his first training camp with the Thrashers in 2004. In 2006 Nathan signed his first NHL contract and was assigned to the Thrashers AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves.

The 2006-07 season was Nathan's first full season as a Wolf and he had a good offensive year putting up 47 points.

The 2007-08 season was equally rewarding with Nathan playing in 80 regular season games and scoring 43 points. He and the Wolves went on to win the Calder Cup that season. Nathan scored 11 points in the playoffs.

In the 2008-09 season, Nathan got his chance to hit the big league. Atlanta had a new coach, John Anderson, former coach of the Chicago Wolves. He had a new system and Nathan knew how to play it.

On November 26, 2008 against the Washington Capitals, Nathan scored his first NHL goal. For the next home game, I made him a bad ass sign congratulating him on his first NHL goal. Imagine my delight when he was our post game show guest. I got him to autograph my sign. He liked it. No really, he did, he TOLD me "Nice sign." I said "nice goal." :)

Other "firsts" for Nathan
  • First collegiate hattrick on November 4, 2004 with three first period goals against Michigan Tech.
  • Tallied first AHL goal at San Antonio on October 20, 2006.

Nathan finished the season with the Thrashers by playing in 53 games and registering 12 points. That's a significant drop off from this AHL number. You have to take into account though that this was his first season playing against NHL talent. Also Nathan was scratched for a lot of games. Being scratched on and off again can have an affect on getting your game going.

Oystrick is an offensive minded defenseman. He's a good skater and passer and will fight if necessary. He moves the puck well and has a decent slapshot. At 5'11'' he isn't tall, but he's solid. I would love to see Oysters come back next season, but with him being an RFA, I guess we will have to see what happens.

  • 2003-04 CCHA Second All-Star Team
  • 2004-05 CCHA First All-Star Team
  • 2004-05 CCHA Best Defensive Defensemen
  • 2006-07 AHL All Rookie Team
  • 2006-07 AHL Second All Star Team



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