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The Vancouver Canucks have made their first big splash in free agency, signing Loui Eriksson to a six-year contract valued at $36-million. Which means that Eriksson will carry a $6-million cap hit. This signing should come as no surprise, as the Canucks have always considered Eriksson to factor largely into their free agency plans as a primary option to add scoring and two-way acumen to their top line.
— Matt Lee (@mattlee980) July 1, 2016
While the cash invested and the term attached might be a difficult pill to swallow for Canucks fans, such is the price for acquiring premier free agents on the first day of the frenzy. The market for Eriksson’s services was likely enormous and if his negotiations with his previous club, the Boston Bruins, are any indication, he had no desire whatsoever to take a hometown discount. For Eriksson, who turns 31 in two weeks time, this was his last chance to cash in and you can hardly blame him for seizing the opportunity.
It will be interesting to see how well Eriksson meshes with the Sedins. Surely that’s where the Canucks intend to play their prized acquisition. Without the benefit of With or Without You data for the international tournaments they played together, it’s fair to wonder just how much chemistry the trio had playing for Sweden. Intuitively, one would think that Eriksson’s ability to process the game should make him an excellent fit.
Eriksson, 30, just finished a hugely successful season with the Bruins, scoring 30 goals and adding 33 assists for 63 points in 82 games. His two-way game remains solvent and generally speaking, Eriksson has a positive impact on his linemates ability to control the run of play. For the Canucks, who aim to compete for the playoffs as soon as next season, Eriksson’s offence and two-way play will prove immensely valuable.
Though there is concern, some of it reasonable, that the Canucks will come to suffer the latter years of this contract, there is no debating that Eriksson makes the club considerably better now. The hope is that Eriksson, who doesn’t play the most physical game, will age better than most. That’s a reasonable bet, too. Eriksson’s played less than 79 games in a full season just once over the last eight seasons.
A good signing for the Canucks, who’ve taken a positive step towards meeting their goal of the playoffs next season.