In the end, there wasn’t a deal good enough to move Loui Eriksson out of Boston.
That’s what B’s GM Don Sweeney confirmed on Monday, acknowledging that — while there were offers for the Swedish winger, none were compelling enough to move him out of town while the Bruins were still in a playoff position.
“If the deal wasn’t going to be right, we were going to maintain our position,” Sweeney said. “If you look around the league, I don’t think any team currently in a playoff position traded a player of Loui’s magnitude.
“I think one first-rounder was exchanged. The deal had to be right. It had to be right for this organization for me to do that. I’ve been entrusted to do that, and for me, Loui Eriksson is an important part of what we’re doing now.”
Timing-wise, it stands to reason that once Boston opted to keep Eriksson — “three o’clock,” was Sweeney’s joking reply when asked what time he decided on it — the club quickly shifted into buyer mode. Veteran rentals John-Michael Liles and Lee Stempniak were acquired from Carolina and New Jersey, and there’s a sense that Eriksson also qualified as a rental, albeit an unconventional one.
Sweeney also said that, while they didn’t make any progress on a new contract for Eriksson today, an extension still wasn’t off the table.
“I’m going to continue to explore signing Loui,” he explained. “I indicated to him he’s an important part of our team as we are right now, and hopefully going forward.”
While there’s a calculated risk about letting Eriksson potentially go to market — especially since he’s got 23 goals and 48 points through 63 games — the gamble could pay off. If last year’s free agency period showed anything, it’s that big paydays of the past aren’t as lucrative, and there aren’t many out there.
Especially with salary cap uncertainty.
We’ve also seen instances in the past where teams let UFAs to go market, and re-sign them quickly — Tampa Bay did it with Ryan Callahan two years ago, Calgary did it with Karri Ramo last summer.
So maybe Boston has a good postseason run, with Eriksson contributing. And maybe there’s not as big a UFA payday as he expected in July. And maybe, when all the options are laid out in front of him, Eriksson decides staying in Boston trumps everything else.
It’s not a wildly unrealistic scenario, right?