Loui Eriksson is a good signing from a pure hockey standpoint, but does he fit the Canucks’ current direction? It’s anyone’s guess.
Did left winger Loui Eriksson have an excellent bounce-back year in Boston? Absolutely. Is he worth $6 million a year? Probably. Might he fit beautifully shifting to the right wing on a line with Henrik and Daniel Sedin? Sure. But does it make any sense for the current incarnation of the Vancouver Canucks to sign Eriksson, who turns 31 July 17, to a six-year deal? One again, the Jim Benning regime shows its personality is multiple personalities, a blend of buy and sell, of rebuild and playoff push, of acceptance and denial. To try and break down what this team has done over the past few seasons, here’s a rough sketch…
‘WIN NOW’ CANUCKS
Sign Radim Vrbata for $5-million AAV
Sign Ryan Miller for $6-million AAV
Trade Zack Kassian for Brandon Prust
Trade Jared McCann for Erik Gudbranson
Re-sign Derek Dorsett at $2.65-million AAV
Re-sign Luca Sbisa at $3.6-million AAV
Do not trade pending UFAs Vrbata and Dan Hamhuis for future assets at 2016 deadline
Trade Hunter Shinkaruk for Markus Granlund Sign Loui Eriksson at $6-million AAV
‘WIN LATER’ CANUCKS
Trade Ryan Kesler to Anaheim for Sbisa, Nick Bonino and picks
Trade Jason Garrison to Tampa Bay fro a second-round pick
Trade Kevin Bieksa to Anaheim for a second-round pick
Draft McCann, Jake Virtanen, Brock Boeser and Olli Juolevi in first round of past three drafts
Trade Eddie Lack to Carolina for two draft picks The Canucks have missed the playoffs twice in the past three years. The Sedins turn 36 in September. Their contracts expire after 2017-18, so they’ll be 38 when (if?) they commence their next deals. The Canucks will have four more years of Eriksson at $6 million by then, and he’ll be 33. It’s nothing against Eriksson, as he’s a very nice fit in the short-term. But can anyone explain the Canucks’ vision right now? It seems like they’re stocking the cupboard with prospects while simultaneously loading up on expensive veteran talent. This team doesn’t know who it wants to be.
WHAT ADVANCED STATS SAY: Huge term for a guy about to turn 31, but unlike the Backes, Lucic, and Ladds of the world, Eriksson should age much better thanks to a less hard-nosed approach to the game. The dollar figure is $2 million more than expected, but Eriksson’s projection was admittedly the most head-scratching of
Cane’s model projections. Vancouver was one of the worst possession teams in the league last season, and signing Eriksson should mitigate that in a big way. He’s a huge possession driver, especially on the defensive end of the ice. As good as he is though, it’s a strange course of action for a team that should probably be rebuilding instead.
By Dominik Luszczyszyn
Matt Larkin is a writer and editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin