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2018-2019 Player Ratings: Joakim Nordstrom had a tough start but a decent finish

He was a guy who drew a lot of ire early on, but finished with a solid playoff run.

2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Seven Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Overall Rating: 4.8

Joakim Nordstrom came into his first season as a Bruin without much fanfare and, really, without much expectation. He was brought in to be a penalty killer and a bottom-six (mostly fourth-line) forward, a reliable body to replace someone like Tim Schaller or Riley Nash after each skipped town.

At a cap hit of only a million dollars per season, you wouldn’t expect Nordstrom to be a very polarizing figure. However, there were stretches of this past regular season where Nordstrom was the scapegoat, the target of many fans’ ire.

Back in the late winter, Nordstrom registered a single point over a 21-game span, and it wasn’t the only time this season he had a drought that reached double digits.

I can’t find it now, but I remember seeing a stat somewhere during the winter that found Nordstrom to be the least efficient goal-scorer in the entire league among regular forwards. NOT IDEAL.

Still, a lot of the angst over Nordstrom was overblown. He was a fourth-line guy making (in terms of professional athlete salaries) peanuts, and clearly wasn’t a huge drain on the team. I ended up giving Nordstrom the highest rating among our group, and I think it was for a pretty simple reason: he had a pretty good playoff run.

I shouldn’t let recency bias cloud my vote, but I developed a soft spot for Nordstrom over the course of the season. He reminded he a bit of PJ Axelsson: a mild-mannered Scandinavian who didn’t do anything really well, but was pretty reliable when used in the right situations.

He broke his foot blocking a shot in the Winter Classic, but looked no worse for the wear until the game ended. He came up big in the Leafs series, icing Game 4 with an empty-netter and scoring a huge opening goal in Game 7.

He was also second on the Bruins in shorthanded time on ice among forwards, and played a big part in making the Bruins’ PK a pretty decent weapon during the postseason.

All in all, Nordstrom didn’t really stand out for any reason (good or bad) this season. He was pretty good on the penalty kill and was, if nothing else, decently reliable in his own end. He also had long stretches of staggering lacks of productivity, but what can you really demand from a $1 million player?

There are arguments to be made that the Bruins have other (cheaper) glue guys in the system, but it’s unlikely that Nordstrom is going anywhere. He’s under contract for another year, and will probably remain in his fourth-line/PK role through next season.

That’s why I gave him a 7: in that role, he did fine.

Individual Ratings:

  • Jake: 5
  • Dan: 7
  • Sky: 5
  • Adam: 5
  • Shawn: 2