The quintessential money player, Bob Nystrom was a scrappy right-winger who had a propensity for scoring key goals and overtime winners. He was a scrappy competitor who battled hard in the corners and in front of the net during his 900 games with the New York Islanders.
Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Nystrom came to Canada as a four-year-old and starred for the BCJHL's Kamloops Rockets in 1969-70. He was an emotional sparkplug on the Calgary Centennials of the WCJHL for two seasons and was claimed 33rd overall by the Islanders in 1972.
Nystrom played eleven games for the woeful expansion club in 1972-73 but spent the majority of his time gaining valuable experience with the New Haven Nighthawks of the AHL. He scored 21 goals as a rookie in 1973-74 and was a key part of the more competitive performance put forth by the club. Overall he reached the 20-goal mark seven times for New York and was considered one of the toughest players in the league.
Nystrom scored a personal high of 30 goals in 1977-78 playing with Bob Bourne. Two years later, he scored the overtime winner in game six of the finals that brought the Islanders their first of four consecutive Stanley Cups. During the four-year dynasty Nystrom formed one of the league's hardest-working lines with Bourne and Wayne Merrick. By the 1984-85 season, his body began to show signs of many years of crashing into the opposition.
Nystrom played 50 games over two seasons before retiring in 1986 after trying to battle back from an eye injury. He served as the Isles' assistant coach under Terry Simpson for two years which proved to be a difficult adjustment. The former winger was distraught that players were not going full out on every second of each shift during the course of game. After watching old tapes of his own games Nystrom realized that even he paced himself while competing.