Struggling Islanders visit Red Wings

DETROIT — Gustav Nyquist may not be in the Detroit Red Wings future plans, but he’s a big part of their present.

Nyquist, a right winger, has five goals and 10 assists in his last six games and is tied with Dylan Larkin for the team lead in points with 26 (seven goals and 19 assists).

Detroit (13-12-4) hosts the New York Islanders (13-11-3) at Little Caesars Arena at Saturday night.

Nyquist, 29, will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and — as has been the case the past few seasons — has been named in several trade rumors with the Red Wings in rebuilding mode. He is in the final year of a contract that has a $4.75 million annual cap hit and it would likely take an annual salary of over $5 million over a three- or four-year deal to retain Nyquist.

“Over the last few years my name has popped up here and there in trade rumors leading up to the deadline, especially when you’re not battling for a playoff spot,” Nyquist told mlive.com. “Right now, we’re battling for a playoff spot and we want to be a team that come trade deadline, we don’t want to be sellers by any means, we want to keep what we have and go on a good run.

“I think everyone in this room believes we can make the playoffs. If it happens that my name pops up, I’ll deal with it, but I’ve been part of it in the past and it’s nothing that bothers me.”

He had a goal and two assists in Thursday night’s 5-4 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena.

Detroit is 2-1-1 in its last four games against four of the league’s best: Boston, Colorado, Tampa Bay and Toronto.

“I just think it just continues to show to our players that when we do it the right way, when we play the way we’re capable of, we can take anybody in the league,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill told the Detroit Free Press. “Let’s keep going.”

Meanwhile, New York is struggling offensively.

The Islanders are 1-3-1 in their past five games and have only scored eight goals in that span.

“Teams are going to score,” center Mathew Barzal told Newsday. “You’ve got to find a way to put four, five on the board. You’ve got to find a way to push that side of the game a little bit.”

They dropped a 6-2 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena Thursday night, getting goals from left winger Anders Lee — who has goals in four consecutive games — and center Brock Nelson (shorthanded), who snapped an eight-game goal drought.

“It was too friendly of a game,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz told NHL.com. “There wasn’t enough skin invested in the game, right across the board. We need a couple saves. Some [defensemen] could play a little bit better. Some of our forwards who are a little more physical could be more assertive in that area, and our skill guys are going to have to produce. No one was immune today.”