Bruins excited about Eriksson, prospects

Bruins excited about Eriksson, prospects
July 5, 2013, 9:30 am
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BOSTON – So enough about the departure of Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley from the Boston Bruins.

What about the players that are coming to the Bruins in the form of 27-year-old Swedish winger Loui Eriksson as well as a trio of young prospects that will be helpful to Boston’s salary cap situation?

The centerpiece is clearly Eriksson, who will move into a right wing spot for the Black and Gold as a responsible, two-way player that’s averaged 29.5 goals and 69.5 points over his last four full seasons. One could envision the speedy, skilled Eriksson as a guy that will immediately blend in perfectly with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on Boston’s second line.

“He’s a good two-way player. He knows where to find the spots to score. He has a good shot, good release from either side, he can play on the PP [power play],” said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. “He can play on the- he’s probably better suited off the post. Down low I’d like to get some left shot skill too, which makes him even more attractive.

“He can play the right side, and he has left shot skill. He spreads out your power play. He’s a fast and a good two-way player. There’s a lot of his game that fits into how we play.”

Last season Eriksson actually finished with one fewer goal and seven fewer points than Seguin as he clearly missed the absence of playmaking Brad Richards from the Dallas lineup, and hasn’t topped 30 goals since scoring 36 for the Stars during the 2008-09 season. So Eriksson will have something to prove with the Bruins as well next season, but there’s a track record that the Swedish forward will get right back to the 25 goal/65 point level he’s averaged over the last five seasons.

Here is a look at the other three players Boston acquired in the blockbuster Fourth of July deal with the Dallas Stars:

 
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Joe Morrow – Morrow is a former first round pick and left-handed shooting defenseman that was traded in April from the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Brendon Morrow. Morrow didn’t have a great AHL season in 2012-13 in his first full pro season, but the potential is still there for him. The 21-year-old Morrow had five goals and 19 points in 66 games for the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Penguins and Texas Stars this season. On the bright side, Morrow lit it up for the Portland WinterHawks in the WHL and should develop into an excellent offensive defenseman. Chiarelli: “He was with Pittsburgh and was traded to Dallas in the Brenden Morrow trade. Still a young player, very strong skater, finding his way, but we have a lot of time for him and we think he can develop into a top four NHL defenseman with the right development.”

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Matt Fraser – The 23-year-old winger has a pair of 30-goal seasons under his belt at the AHL level, and acquitted himself well in 12 games with the Dallas Stars at the end of the season. A former teammate of Fraser’s with the AHL’s Texas Stars said he “has an unreal shot. Kid can score.” He also has pretty ideal size at 6-foot-2 and 204-pounds, and won’t shy away from taking the puck to the net. Chiarelli: “A guy with a terrific release, an NHL shooter. He’ll challenge for a spot on our team.”

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Reilly Smith – The 22-year-old right winger put up 17 goals and 44 points in 82 games between the AHL and NHL last season after a stellar collegiate career on the same Miami (Ohio) hockey team as current Providence Bruins forward Carter Camper. Smith is listed at 6-foot and 157 pounds, but he’s impressed Bruins scouts with his skills with the puck on his stick. Chiarelli: “He’s kind of a silky smooth type of right winger, very smart, good vision, played at Miami of Ohio. [He] just finished his first year pro.”