Monday, August 15, 2005
MSU and U-M captains sign with NHL clubs
Outgoing Michigan State captain Jim Slater (above) has signed his first NHL contract with the Atlanta Thrashers while his Ann Arbor counterpart, Eric Nystrom (above Slater), has inked a pact with the Calgary Flames.
Both were 2002 first-round picks with Nystrom going tenth overall and Slater getting picked at No. 30.
“Jim enjoyed a successful career at Michigan State and we look forward to his continued development at the professional level,” said Thrashers general manager Don Waddell. “He has a great deal of potential which will be enhanced as he competes for a spot on our roster.”
Slater was named as a Top 10 Finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award and was named to the All-America Second Team two seasons ago. Slater, who was born in Petoskey and grew up in Lapeer, served as the Spartans team captain during his junior and senior seasons and became just the sixth player in school history to serve as team captain for consecutive seasons and served as an alternate captain during his sophomore season.
The 22-year old forward notched 172 points (64 goals, 108 assists) in 157 games with Michigan State from 2001-05, ranking 23rd on the school's all-time list.
Nystrom, a forward from Syosset, N.Y., played in 160 career games with the Wolverines and notched 111 points (56 goals, 55 assists) and 149 penalty minutes. He's the son of former NHL star and Stanley Cup champion Bob Nystrom, who won four Cups with the New York Islanders from 1980-1983.
"There was no doubt in my mind we'd get the deal done in Calgary," Nystrom told the Calgary Sun. "Calgary is a serious contender this year. They're not joking around. They're putting together a team expecting to win championships and so it's going to be tough to make the team. It'll come down to performance but if I have to play in the minors to get my shot I'm willing to do that."
Nystrom, 22, captained the 2003 United States World Junior Team that finished in fourth place in Halifax, Nova Scotia and was an alternate captain with Michigan in 2003-2004.