Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson have the Bruins at the top of the Eastern Conference. Credit: Getty Images
On a team full of players with impressive postseason resumes, don’t be shocked if a guy who last appeared in the NHL playoffs in 2008 could emerge as a key contributor for the Bruins these next few weeks and [they hope] months.
In sum, it’s been a largely disappointing first year in Boston for right wing Loui Eriksson [eight goals, 26 assists in 57 games], but he does own a legitimate excuse in that he suffered two concussions in a span of five weeks at the start of the season.
After putting up a career-high four assists in last Saturday’s 5-2 win over Philadelphia, it seems as though Eriksson is coming into his own at just the right time.
“I’m just trying to build off this and get better,” Eriksson said about his recent stretch. “This is a really good team to play for, we’re not satisfied.”
Those thinking Eriksson would easily replace Tyler Seguin, who he was traded for last summer, are overlooking the obvious fact that they are two completely different players. On the surface, and as of right now, it looks bad on Boston’s end that they gave up too soon on Seguin when he’s put up 36 goals and 46 assists with the Stars this season.
But if he’s healthy this spring, Eriksson could prove to be the perfect two-way player Boston was expecting when the deal went down.
Since winning a silver medal with Team Sweden in Sochi, Eriksson has been a different player. In 20 games, he’s put up two goals, 14 assists and a plus-7. More important than his numbers, which will never jump off the page at you, he’s given head coach Claude Julien another versatile player to deploy in any situation - power play, shorthanded, even-strength, during close games - on multiple lines.
“He seems comfortable in our system,” noted Julien. “He keeps getting better and better and more consistent.”
Every season in the NHL playoffs, we see unheralded guys step up in the biggest games [think Chicago’s Brian Bickell last season or Torey Krug for the Bruins]. There is no reason why Eriksson couldn’t soon make up for lost time with a postseason run to remember.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter:@RichSlate