MIDDLETON, Mass. – Loui Eriksson knows that he has more to give the Bruins headed into his second season in Boston. So, the Swedish winger arrived has been hanging around town since July readying for what could be a prominent role with the Black and Gold this season.
Eriksson finished with only 10 goals and 37 points in 61 games in a concussion-marred first season with the B's and eventually settled into a third line role after he was envisioned as a top-six forward coming over from Dallas. The right wing is the favorite to fill the top-line wing spot vacated by Jarome Iginla. That could mean a return to something much closer to the 30-goal form he had in Dallas skating with Brad Richards and Jamie Benn.
“It’s definitely two great players to play with. I played two games with [David Krejci and Milan Lucic] last season, and it was nice,” said Eriksson, at Shawn Thornton’s Fifth Annual Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s golf tournament at the Ferncroft Country Club. “We’ll see when the preseason starts, and if maybe we practice together a little bit. Then we’ll see how things work out. Krejci is a great player, and he can see the ice really well.
“[The first season in Boston] was definitely hard, and it wasn’t easy getting those concussions, too. It’s definitely nice to play one season, and look forward to the next one.”
Does Eriksson think there is more to his game than he showed last season amid super-duper high expectations after serving as the main player coming back in the Tyler Seguin deal?
“I think I can bring a little more. I want to show everybody that I can play really good,” said Eriksson. “It’s definitely something where this summer has been big getting into shape and getting ready for this season coming up.”
The Bruins would certainly settle for a solid two-way player that can kill penalties, finish on the power play and score 25 goals alongside Krejci and Lucic. Eriksson has the track record to be that guy. Claude Julien openly welcomed giving Eriksson a chance in a pivotal role when he was asked about it a couple of weeks ago.
“We’ve lost Jarome [Iginla], but as you’ve probably heard, I think Loui Eriksson is a player that can be even better than he was last year,” said Julien. “I think we started seeing that at the end of the year, and he could be a replacement for Jarome as a possibility.
One encouraging sign in those two games Eriksson played with Krejci and Lucic: he seemed to be looking for his offense and shot the puck with a bit higher frequency.
The 6-foot-2, 196-pounder put up 26 goals and 71 points in his worst full season as a top-six guy with the Dallas Stars. The B’s would welcome that with open arms.
Now he simply has to keep his head up on the ice, get his stick down ready for Krejci passes and shed the rotten puck luck that saw him hit the post a few too many times last year for a player with an elite skill level.