Hockey

Trade Him or Keep Him: Loui Eriksson

Eric Hartline- USA TODAY Sports

Loui Eriksson is having his best season in a Bruins uniform, and one of the best in his career.  Through 49 games, Eriksson has tallied 15 goals and 24 assists.  His 39 points are second on the team behind Patrice Bergeron.  Eriksson is also in the last year of his contract, which forces the Bruins to make a tough decision.  Do they re-sign the 30 year-old winger to a deal that would likely be for 4 years at around $5 million per season, or do they include Eriksson in a trade that gets them the top four defenseman that they desperately need?  This is not an easy decision, but one that must be made and made soon.  The Bruins cannot allow Eriksson to just walk as a free agent this summer, so if they are not going to re-sign him, they have to trade him before the deadline.

Eriksson came to Boston as part of the infamous Tyler Seguin trade.  His first season in Boston was marred by a concussion, and he only scored 10 goals.  Last year, Eriksson began to look like the star player he was in Dallas, but still fell short of expectations.  This has been the first season that Eriksson has really looked good in a Bruins uniform.  Eriksson has looked great, but the Bruins are deep up front.  Where they are not deep is on the back end.  The Bruins defense really is a rag tag group at this point, full of guys that should be 5th or 6th defensemen.  Despite the troubles on the back end, the Bruins are still winning games and in position to make the playoffs.  If they add a top tier defenseman, they become a Stanley Cup contender.  It’s obvious the Bruins need to add a good defenseman, but what are they willing to give up?

To get a top four NHL defenseman, the Bruins are going to have to give up, at least, one proven NHL player and multiple prospects.  Their defense is already bad, so they can’t give up a defenseman.  They are deep up front, but with mostly bottom six caliber forwards.  To go get a guy like Kevin Shattenkirk or Dustin Byfuglien, a top line forward will have to go the other way.  That leaves Loui Eriksson as the guy to get traded.  He’s in the last year of his contract, and he’s a proven goal scorer.  Exactly the type of player that gets traded at the trade deadline.

While Eriksson has been tremendous for the Bruins this season, the need for a top four defenseman is too much.  The Bruins have to trade Loui Eriksson, not because they want to lose him, but because they desperately need what he can bring in.  He’s really the only guy that can go.  They would never trade Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand is their leading scorer, David Krejci is too important to lose, and Ryan Spooner is a budding star.  That leaves one guy for the Bruins to include in a trade, Loui Eriksson.  General manager Don Sweeney has got to make a deal happen because the Bruins are not legitimate contenders until they fix their defensive problems.  Sorry Loui, you have been good, but your time in Boston is over.

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