When the Vancouver Canucks signed Loui Eriksson to a six-year, $36 million free agent contract – with a no-movement clause – in the summer of 2016 there were some conflicting feelings for fans.
On one hand, the team had just acquired a talented player coming off a 30-goal season in Boston. They had their hands on a player that could play in all situations, one that scored 70+ points in three consecutive seasons with the Dallas Stars.
To top if off, Eriksson had experience playing with Henrik and Daniel Sedin, as the trio ripped up the 2013 World Championships to earn Sweden a gold medal.
The problem was his birth certificate.
Eriksson was 30 years old, and would turn 31 before suiting up with Vancouver. He would be paid big money until he was 36. There were legitimate concerns as to why GM Jim Benning would sign a player until that age given the team looked in desperate need of a rebuild.
By the time the team was ready to win again in the latter years of his contract, they would have an anchor weighing them down.
At $6 million per season, Eriksson would surely be overpaid at some point, but at least he’d be a nice addition in the first couple of seasons.
Eriksson’s Canucks career famously began with him scoring into his own net. It was unlucky, but also foreshadowing.
In two years with Vancouver, Eriksson has failed worse than most anyone could have imagined.
He hasn’t been a great fit with the Sedins.
Forget 30 goals in a season, he barely got 10.
This, for a player who will be the highest paid on the team after the Sedins’ contracts expire this year.
On Thursday, Canucks head coach Travis Green announced that Eriksson’s season is over, as the veteran has a fractured rib.
Eriksson is out for the season with a fractured rib, according to Coach Green.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) March 1, 2018
When Eriksson scored 24 points (11-13-24) in 65 games last season, he pointed to the difficulties of moving his family to a new city. There was some reason for optimism coming into 2017-18 that he could regain his form, as he improved drastically with each season in Boston.
That hasn’t been the case.
Eriksson’s season ends with just 10 goals and 23 points in 50 games, which is only marginally better than last season, despite playing for a more offensive-minded coach.
It should be pointed out that Eriksson does more than produce offence. He’s a player that Green counts on to kill penalties and he’s responsible defensively.
He was third among Canucks forwards in Corsi-For percentage last season and is fourth this year.
But you don’t pay $6 million for a defensively responsible winger. You can get Darren Archibald to be that for $650,000.
Eriksson ranks ninth in Canucks scoring, meaning they’ve essentially got themselves a third liner.
Unless this is somehow just a blip on the radar, it’s going to be a long four years for Eriksson, whose contract is about as untradable as you can imagine.