3 teams that can use Loui Eriksson
After a shaky start to his Boston tenure due to a serious 2013 concussion suffered at the hands of NHL All-Star Game MVP John Scott, the 30-year-old is playing his best hockey to date in a Bruins uniform, tied for second in team scoring while boasting positive possession numbers and deployed in all manner of situations.
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While it could hurt the Bruins in the short term to lose a player of Eriksson's caliber, general manager Don Sweeney could look to deal the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent if it appears the two sides won't be able to agree to a contract extension, as long as he can secure blue line help as well as future assets in return.
Here are three teams that should be very interested in acquiring his services for the stretch run:
The Ducks overcame a dreadful start and have risen to second in the Pacific Division, but remain a question mark in an incredibly competitive Western Conference.
Anaheim's biggest issue remains a lack of scoring, as evidenced by their 26th-ranked 2.35 goals per game through 55 contests.
Eriksson's 44 points would slot him first among the Ducks, ahead of both Ryan Getzlaf (43) and Corey Perry (40), and he would increase the number of Anaheim players with a double-digit goal total to four.
The Ducks possess what the Bruins would be looking for in return, namely a young defenseman capable of playing top-four minutes. If Anaheim has ambitions of returning to the Conference Finals, adding Eriksson would be a big step in the right direction.
The Wild won interim head coach John Torchetti's first game, but a slew of losses to kick off 2016 have them outside the playoff picture. Still, this is a roster that advanced to the second round last spring, with a payroll that spells Stanley Cup aspirations.
Like the Ducks, Minnesota's sticks have gone cold, averaging 2.5 goals per game. Eriksson has more goals and points than any Wild player, and he could step into the top six to give the offense an immediate boost.
Only four points behind Colorado and Nashville with games in hand, a playoff spot is still very much in Minnesota's grasp, with Eriksson's addition potentially serving as another springboard after the coaching change.
Here's where the Avalanche would be wise to step in.
Traditionally a poor possession team under head coach Patrick Roy, Colorado could benefit greatly from Eriksson's two-way game, especially with Carl Soderberg - with whom he achieved great chemistry in Boston - currently playing first-line center.
Not one Avalanche player sits on the positive side of the ledger in terms of five-on-five Corsi, and adding Eriksson to a line with countrymen Soderberg and Gabriel Landeskog would allow Roy to roll out better balanced combinations while putting increased pressure on the opposition.
This is the kind of deal that needs to be made in order to hold off the Wild and secure a playoff spot, with restricted free agent Tyson Barrie perhaps being the cost.