2016 NHL Free Agency: Loui Eriksson, a winger regaining his form
Detroit GM Ken Holland has said he plans to look at free agency for improving the Red Wings' forward corps. Loui Eriksson would add offense, so would he be a good signing?
Up next in our series on available free agents is the Boston Bruins' Loui Eriksson, a left shooting right winger.
Eriksson put up strong numbers with the Dallas Stars from 2008-09 through 2011-12. In 2013, he was traded to the Boston Bruins in the Tyler Seguin trade.
His numbers in his first two seasons with the Bruins were lackluster considering he racked up between 63 to 73 points in four straight seasons. His first two Boston seasons saw him contribute 37 and 47 points.
Last season, however, Eriksson scored 30 goals and 33 assists for 63 points, 7 more goals than Detroit's leading goal scorer, Dylan Larkin, and 4 fewer assists than the Wings' assist leader, Henrik Zetterberg. With the Red Wings needing more offense, could Loui Eriksson be a target in free agency?
Position: Right Wing
Height/Weight: 6'2" / 183 Lbs
Born: July 17, 1985 (30 years old)
Hometown: Goteberg, Sweden
What does Eriksson have to offer?
Loui Eriksson is a top-six winger who can produce offensively, as well as drive possession. In addition to his 63 points, he had a 5v5 CF% of 52.19 last season and a 5v5 GF% of 63.29.
He scores many of his goals by being in the right position, finding holes in the defense for wide open shots from close-range, but he also scores by receiving the puck down low and driving the net. Take a look at the video below, and see how many of his goals last year were scored from 10 feet or closer.
How does he compare to other available players?
The clearest comparable player looks to be Kyle Okposo, whom I profiled yesterday.
If you watch both their videos, you will see that they have similar skill sets, although Eriksson scores more of his goals from in close. Okposo's wrist shot is better, but both players have strong offensive positioning and are good at finding weak spots in the defensive coverage. Okposo is younger, but he should cost more. The term should also be different, with Okposo reportedly looking for six years, while Eriksson is said to want five from the Bruins, who have hesitated so far in offering more than four.
Their comparison HERO chart indicates that Okposo is the stronger option in terms of production, while Eriksson is the better choice to improve possession.
Should the Wings target Loui Eriksson?
The Wings are looking to the free agent market to upgrade their offense, and Loui Eriksson would be an upgrade. If Detroit signs Steven Stamkos, they will not be able to add another free agent forward, unless they can move Howard's contract, which doesn't seem likely at this point. If they don't sign Stamkos, Eriksson is someone they should take a close look at. He's 30, which is cause for concern. He does, however, score many of his goals by intelligent positioning, which indicates his production could decline slower than someone who relies more on speed. I'd look to Okposo over Eriksson, but if Okposo signs elsewhere, and if Eriksson will sign a reasonable deal, he would be a good addition.