In the fall of 2000, Michel Riesen was at the peak of his pro hockey career (so far). No one could have known, as the former 1st rounder looked like he was about to grab a roster spot and thrive for years to come.
In fact, many of us felt he was dragging his linemates on the Bulldog line (Brian Swanson, Daniel Cleary) along with him.
Michel Riesen’s 2000 pre-season numbers (7gp, 4-2-6) and effective play got him a big league job. It lasted 12 games, which these 7 years later remain his only NHL games. He has played for Davos (Swiss League) since 2001 and you can usually see him around Christmastime in the Spengler Cup. After scoring at almost a point-per-game clip in pre-season 2000, Riesen managed 1 assist in those 12 regular season games.
What happened? Well, he lost his job. Daniel Cleary was the only guy on that line who would turn the opportunity into a big league career and the Oilers brought along better players (Horcoff, Comrie) as the year rolled along. On October 31, 2000, Riesen’s NHL career ended as he was sent to the minors along with Brad Norton.
Robert Nilsson was 4gp, 1-2-3 this pre-season, and he looked ready to roll. +4, effective on a line with two young NHL veterans in Jarret Stoll and Raffi Torres. So far this season, in 4 games, he is 0-1-1, -1.
His icetime by game:
His PP icetime:
His EV icetime
Robert Nilsson has a much stronger hold right now on an NHL job than Michel Riesen had in fall 2000. He earned the 2line job for the Oilers and he’s going to get his at-bats. Still, the coach is starting to juggle lines and Pouliot seemed to have some chemistry late with a couple of top 6 types and that could impact Nilsson.
If ever there was a time to pop 2 goals, that time would be now for Robert Nilsson.