Under Pressure: Loui Eriksson

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This post is part of Canucks Day on PHT…

Loui Eriksson has to be a contender for the biggest disappointment of the 2016-17 campaign.

When Vancouver signed him to a six-year, $36 million contract in the summer of 2016 he was coming off a 30-goal campaign with Boston and the hope was that he would mesh with the Sedin twins on the top line. In the end though, Eriksson had just 11 goals and 24 points in 65 games, making it his least productive season since the 32-year-old forward’s rookie campaign.

There are ways to look at his campaign and see silver linings. From a Corsi and Fenwick perspective he performed better than the Canucks overall. His shooting percentage of 8.3 was way down from 2015-16 and his career average so you could argue that perhaps he was dealing with some bad luck. Even still, it’s hard to find a way to feel upbeat about a campaign that went that badly.

For better or worse, that was just the first year of six on his contract. Now the question turns to if he can bounce back, at least to some degree. He is still just 32-years-old so a comeback wouldn’t be shocking. However, if he goes through another season like he just endured then talk might even transition to a buyout next summer despite how long is left on that deal.

On the flip side if Eriksson is able to rebound then he could be one of the leaders on this transitioning team. With the Sedin twins set to celebrate their 37th birthday on Sept. 26 and entering the final season of their contract, their tenure with the Canucks might be drawing to a close. Even in a best case scenario, Eriksson isn’t a replacement on the ice for what the twins once were, but he could become the guiding force by setting a positive example for the younger players through what might be some difficult rebuilding years.

That would provide the squad with some value and make his contract feel more justified in the long run.