Welcome to part one of a three-part series diving into the Loui Eriksson era in Vancouver.
This new, three-part series is set to take a look at three aspects of his time in the big leagues: before he signed with the Vancouver Canucks, what’s happened during his time in Vancouver, and what could be in store for the 34-year-old’s future. Part one can be read here.
The storyline surrounding the Boston Bruins in 2015-16 largely circled Loui Eriksson and his impending free agency. His camp was asking for a long-term, multi-million deal and discussions as the trade deadline approached circled whether or not the Bruins would look to trade the man fresh would total 30 goals that year.
The Canucks had looked into Eriksson, and Vancouver targeted the power forward given his history as a two-way threat and his Swedish connection to the Sedins.
Thus, on July 1, Vancouver made a big splash and signed Eriksson to a six-year, $36-million deal. While the money was a tough pill to swallow, and still is, many were excited about the prospect of Eriksson sliding in alongside the Sedins.
There was, however, little doubt that Eriksson would be able to produce. But not long after the deal was signed and play wad underway, concerns were starting to be raised.
Two weeks into the season, Eriksson lost his spot on the top-line with the Sedins and his top spot on the powerplay. Eriksson finished his first year playing 65 games scoring 11 goals and 24 points. All in all, Eriksson played over 500 minutes with both Sedins over his time in Vancouver, and did see solid success with them.
Year two didn’t fare much better as injuries derailed much of his year. Eriksson scored 23 points in 50 games that year and much of that came off a hot start to the season with a few multi-point games in November.
And in the last two seasons, things have not fared a lot better. 2018-19 saw Eriksson score a respectable 29 points in 81 games, but Eriksson had only fared 13 points in 49 games this year pre-COVID-19 pause.
While the raw numbers haven’t been tremendous, Eriksson’s stock as a reliable defensive option continues to rise. Canucksarmy writer Always90four broke down how Eriksson’s developed into a solid winger paired alongside Tanner Pearson and Bo Horvat.
And it’s with those two, his most common linemates this year, that Eriksson’s seen his most success. This season, the three have posted a 51.2 CF%, a 52.63 GF% and an xGF% of 57.82 all with only 34% of their faceoffs coming in the offensive zone.
It’s worth noting, too, that the line are commonly getting the toughest share of opponents night in and night out.
While it’s easy to note how Eriksson has fared with Horvat and Pearson, it can’t be lost how he’s struggled on his own. This year, at 5v5 he’s posted a 49.9 CF%, a 42.22 GF% and an xGF% of 50.31. Given his struggle to produce offence since arriving in Vancouver, you can find a small positive takeaway that Eriksson is at least found himself a home and is producing somewhat at that.
In part three tomorrow, we’ll take a look at if his production is justified given his contract, and what the Vancouver Canucks have for options.
On Twitter: @zjlaing