Could the Bruins’ Loss Be Loui Eriksson’s Gain?

Loui Eriksson’s first season in Boston did not go according to plan. At the beginning of the season, he struggled to develop chemistry with his new linemates Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Shortly thereafter, Eriksson suffered a concussion, keeping the Swedish winger out of action for a month. Upon returning from that injury, Eriksson began to find his form, only to suffer a second concussion, resulting in another month lost. Eriksson returned just before the Olympic Break, showing glimpses of the All-Star forward the Bruins had targeted when they dealt Tyler Seguin. On the season, Eriksson posted 10 goals (second lowest total of his career) and 27 assists (fourth lowest total of his career).

 

The brightest spot of this lowly season for Eriksson? His brief stint on the first line alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Most impressive was his four assist performance in a 5-2 thrashing of the Philadelphia Flyers in April, good enough for his highest point total on the year.

Unfortunately for Eriksson, the top two lines had superb chemistry, leaving Eriksson relegated to third line duty. He made the most of the opportunity, forming a dynamic duo with fellow Swede Carl Soderberg. As well as these two performed on the third line, Eriksson’s aspirations remained far greater.

 

On the first day of NHL free agency this summer, the Bruins were dealt a tough blow when Jarome Iginla announced that he had signed with the Colorado Avalanche. For the second consecutive summer, Boston found itself with a vacancy on the first line.

To make matters worse for the team, due to their use of the bonus cushion last season, the Bruins enter this season with dead cap space on the books. Youngsters Torey Krug and Reilly Smith are restricted free agents that are in line for raises, leaving Peter Chiarelli to search for cheaper alternatives to Jarome Iginla.

 

The best bet for the team, barring a cap friendly trade, would be to promote Loui Eriksson to the first line and search for a third line winger. Coincidentally, this would be the best case scenario for Eriksson as well. If he is able to return to his All-Star form, he would represent an upgrade over Jarome Iginla. Beyond that, it’s more than reasonable to think that a free agent could replicate or better Eriksson’s output from 2013-14. It might be asking a lot of Eriksson to replace Iginla, but if his health issues remain in the rearview, he will be more than up to the task.

Do you think Eriksson can step up and be Boston’s new first line right winger? Will he be able to stay healthy for the season? Let me know what you think in the comments or on twitter, and be sure to check back throughout the summer as we gear up for the new season.

Kirk Vance
That Nissan commercial featured music by The Gaslight Anthem. I approve. - 2 days ago
Kirk Vance

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One Comment

  1. Yes, I do believe in Loui. I’ve seen him play since he was 15 years old. He has always been a player that does his job far better than most see. He can kill penalties, smart on the power play. Put in with Looch and Krejci might just be a good thing and maybe starts scoring again. The thing with Loui is that he’s used to be on top lines if Loui can avoid any more concussions he’ll more than capable to score 25-30 goals and benefit from playing with Milan and Krejci has him lifted up. No problem there

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