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Bruins think Eriksson ‘can be a better player’

May 20, 2014, 11:46 AM EDT

Loui Eriksson Getty Images

Nearly one year after the Tyler Seguin trade, Cam Neely thinks the centerpiece Boston got in return has room for improvement.

“Loui [Eriksson] came in and it was a difficult transition for him, and then he got hurt,” Neely said on Tuesday at the B’s annual year-end presser. “We think he can be a better player.”

Eriksson, 28, missed 21 games with a pair of concussions and a heel injury this season, which limited his production — just 10 goals and 37 points in 61 games, a .61 points-per-game average.

The worry, of course, is that ’13-14 marked the second straight season Eriksson’s production took a hit. He was at a .60 ppg average during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign in Dallas, a noticeable dropoff for a guy that recorded three-straight 70-plus point campaigns from 2009-11 (his point-per-game averages in those three years? .87, .92 and .87)

Not helping Eriksson’s cause was the fact Seguin enjoyed good success in his first year in Dallas, finishing fourth in the NHL in points (84) while pacing the Stars to their first playoff appearance in five years.

Eriksson, meanwhile, spent the majority of the year on Boston’s third line — albeit a very good third line — and didn’t do much in the playoffs, scoring just two goals and five points in 12 games. Eriksson was also a collective minus-4 in the final two losses to Montreal, going pointless with just three total shots on goal.

As such, Neely made no bones about the B’s needing more from the Swedish winger, who has two seasons left on his six-year, $25.5 million deal with a $4.25 million average annual cap hit.

“He’s proven to be a better player,” Neely said. “That’s our expectation, that he can be a better player.”

  1. pjblake2redwings - May 20, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    I bet the Bruins wouldnt mind having to deal with Party Boy Seguin after Erikssons year. Hope Eriksson can bounce back. He is a really good winger who still has plenty of seasons left in him but overall Dallas won this trade for years to come

    • jcmeyer10 - May 20, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      They won it this year. Again, it all depends on what the Bruins get out of Smith/Morrow/Fraser. If it was simply an Eriksson for Seguin swap then they would have eaten the B’s lunch. This is a trade you have grade again after every year seeing as Smith contributed. I know he went cold but hell, Fraser was tied for goals with Sidney Crosby at one point. :D

      • titansbro - May 20, 2014 at 12:43 PM

        How did Seguin do in the playoffs again? His lack of production in the playoffs is why he was traded.

      • pepper2011 - May 20, 2014 at 1:15 PM

        Riley smith has any many playoff goals this year as Seguin has had in the last three years.

      • jcmeyer10 - May 20, 2014 at 2:42 PM

        Titans and Pepper, I am on your side. I was happy on the Fourth when they made the trade and I wouldn’t take it back.

    • gorilla2nine - May 20, 2014 at 2:28 PM

      The comparison is irrelevant. Seguin is not scoring 84 points on the Bruins 2nd/3rd line. Smith and Fraser seem to be a better fit in the system. I was very angry when the trade went down but now I’d be satisfied with just Smith and Fraser.
      I also think ten years from now, Hamilton will be the best player in the Kessel deal. (despite all the cups Toronto,Dallas will earn. LOL!)

      • jcmeyer10 - May 20, 2014 at 2:43 PM

        Hammy looked like he knew what he was doing. From healthy scratches last year to being a Top 2 guy this year. Weirdly enough some folks need more than one shot at playing in the highest pressure situations in the top league in the world.
        :D

    • salmon90 - May 20, 2014 at 3:25 PM

      Ask the Bruins fans in 5 -10 years how they like this trade. Seguin was top 5 in scoring this year. He scored 37 goals and he’s 22 years old. Top line centers like this don’t just pop up all the time. And don’t give me the “disappearing in the playoffs” or “perimeter player” garbage. He scored 1 goal on 70 shots last year for the Bruins. You think maybe there was a chance of regression?!

      • bildomatic - May 20, 2014 at 4:28 PM

        Biggest thing you hear outta Boston after the loss is they were lacking speed and skill… Two of Seguin’s biggest tools. Players are capable of going cold at times (i.e. David Krejci). In Pavel Datsyuk’s first 37 career playoff games he had 3 goals… The jury is still very much out on whether a kid at 22 can score in the postseason.

    • hockeyflow33 - May 20, 2014 at 5:08 PM

      Players like Seguin and Kessel will never thrive with how the Bruins play. It doesn’t make them better or worse players, some guys just won’t work with certain coaches and that’s what happened with those two players. No one with any intelligence ever said Seguin would be terrible, everyone knew he’d break out on a team that allowed him to use his offense first mindset.

  2. jcmeyer10 - May 20, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    Eriksson had a ton of bad luck. Yes Seguin did well but it’s not like you can assume he would have done the same. Hopefully Eriksson makes it back to his previous levels but if Smith/Morrow/Fraser can make the leap then the deal ain’t the worst regardless of how Eriksson plays moving forward.

    Seguin was making too much money to be a bad fit on and off the ice. Marchand is a jackwagon off the ice too, just not during the playoffs when they needed focus (at least during that Leafs series).

    If Seguin has to go to pay guys like Bergy and Rask, then that’s a sacrifice I would make every day. You can’t just hoard good players, the toughest part about being a GM is picking the right guys.

    Kessell, Seguin and Wheeler all had their moments but you just cannot keep every good player.

  3. stonebullet - May 20, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    Although I agree Seguin’s speed would have been nice, he only has 1 playoff goal in his last 20+ playoff games. And it was a rebound on a power play. We won’t know the end result of this trade for a few years but it is trending toward a Dallas win (not counting Reilly Smith/Joe Morrow). If Seguin can eventually put up point against stuff competition/in the playoffs then Dallas wins for sure. Right now he’s only putting up 4 n’ 5 spots on the Floridas of the league.

    • c9castine - May 20, 2014 at 1:18 PM

      did you just make that up? put up 4 points on winnipeg twice, philly, vancouver, 3 pts against minnesota, colorado.

      if indviduals were putting up “4 and 5 spots” against top teams they wouldnt be top teams pal.

      terrible measure.

    • dropthepuckeh - May 20, 2014 at 2:10 PM

      Why wouldn’t you count Smith/Morrow/ Fraser in evaluating the trade given they were part of it? Unless you are just playing make-believe trade analyst I think you look at the whole package and see how they have helped the team. Smith had an incredible year and Fraser looks like he could be on the big club next year. Erikkson at this point might be the cherry on top, not the main course. Putting him on the 3rd line alleviated some of the pressure on him and he started to play much better at the end of the playoffs. There were many games in the playoffs where the Bruins 3rd line was the best on the ice and not just because the rest of the team was horrible.

      jcmeyer – as for Marchand not living it up off the ice during the playoffs – he actually did. Of course his old party pal Seguin was in town the weekend of game 5 vs Montreal and they were out celebrating Marchand’s bday amongst other things. Rightly or wrongly, this is why the Bruins traded Seguin and could ultimately be one of the reasons they trade Marchand although I doubt there are many takers for him at this time.

  4. njadvocate111 - May 20, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    I would make that trade 10/10 times, given what they saw out the guys they got in return for Seguin. Everyone knows that guys like Seguin will get his points over the course of 82 games, but the playoffs are a completely different game. Seguin has 2 goals over the course of his last 28 playoffs games. Eriksson had that in 12 this year. Reilly Smith had 4 goals in 12 games and Fraser chipped in with OT GWG. Playoff hockey is not conducive with the way guys like Seguin play, that is just a fact. Winning the President’s trophy without him, seems like they survived without the regular season all star. Eriksson production will be better with a full season, playing along side Bergeron where he belongs. Now if they could find any takers for a Marchand…

    • govtminion - May 20, 2014 at 4:08 PM

      Agreed. It wasn’t a great year for Eriksson, for sure- two concussions didn’t do him any favors, and by the time he got healthy his spot on the second line was taken. But, as the article pointed out, he was solid on a pretty good third line. I do hope we’ll see him step up next year- particularly since I think one of the top six from this season is going to get traded in the offseason (just a hunch, mind you).

      But… Matt Fraser looked great in the minors this season, and while he made some rookie mistakes after his call-up against the Habs he also made some great plays as well, not the least of which was a big OT winner. And Riley Smith was awesome- streaky, but man he was good during that mid-season point where Eriksson was out. Very good young player, looking forward to seeing more of him.

      So. If you view the trade as Seguin for Eriksson, it wasn’t great. If you view the whole picture though, this was really a good one for both teams- one of those rare times that both teams came out with something they needed.

  5. titansbro - May 20, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    Seguin can score in a system where he is asked to play no defense. That’s not what the Bruins wanted out of him. But in the playoffs, he doesn’t score or play defense. I think the Bruins got great depth out of this trade while the Stars got a star who they can market.

    But I doubt the Bruins are going to be kicking themselves when they’re making deep playoff runs & the Stars are 1 & done every year.

    • c9castine - May 20, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      you mean like this year?

      you wont the presidents trophy the stars barely made it in a much tougher conference, and the Bruins didnt do all that much better.

      bruins fans are something.

      • njadvocate111 - May 20, 2014 at 1:56 PM

        I honestly don’t think you have even made a point yet. Seguin is a regular season all star, sure. But do you really expect his production in the playoffs to change based on his history? If so, I would love to hear why he is capable of overcoming the different styles of play, but Crosby can’t. He seems to be successful against the winnipegs and vancouvers of the world in the regular season, but the playoffs seem to cause him problems. And by problems I mean he has been an absolute abortion the last few years. 5 years in a row getting bounced by a lower seed. I would love to hear your explanation as to why this is?

      • c9castine - May 20, 2014 at 10:29 PM

        im not even sure who we are talking about i was pretty sure this conversation was about eriksson, and the seguin trade.

  6. c9castine - May 20, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    it not so much about the trade. bruins fans sound like they have a little complex about it tough.

    eriksson isnt going to get better. hes still going to be a solid offensive producer to a degree but i wouldnt expect any more 70 point seasons from him. his game never really suited for the bruins and now hes even further banged up.

    but if you want to talk trade the real meat of it was reilly smith. unfortunately rich peverly’s career is in doubt and i dont know anything about button. joe morrow will never hack it in the NHL. maybe for a little as a scoring defenseman but hell fade quickly.

    stil early but only way bruins win this trade is if eriksson stays around and produced 50-60 for the next two seasons and reilly smith becomes a “bruin winger”.

    • pepper2011 - May 20, 2014 at 1:38 PM

      I don’t know if I agree with that. Eriksson can get better ; in fact he did after the Olympic break. He’s probably not going to be a 70pt guy, but he could. Pair him with Krejci & Lucic and maybe…

      I’d be happy with 60pts and 20ish goals which is attainable. I know it sounds cliche, but he had some really bad luck this year. Many posts, many missed nets. I understand the argument can be made that that is who he is, but the new system and the concussions really hurt his season.

      He’s not physical, but it wasn’t until the playoffs that he actually started taking hits again.

      I also think it’s a little premature to say that a 21 year d man will never make it. Started rough and rebounded well. Also – the Bruins have more than proven they can develop dmen. The kid has all the tools, and really started to get their system. He’s probably not going to be a top 2 pairing, but most dmen don’t peak until their mid 20’s and even later. I’m not saying he is as good as Fowler, but look at Cam Fowler’s progress. -25,-28,-4, +15. Same thing with Gudbranson, Larson, etc…

      You keep talking about the “Bruin” type of player. They both are in their own way. Eriksson got away from it. It’s not about hitting all the time and being a ‘tough guy’. If Seguin played like Smith he would still be here. He takes hits, he wins battles – he is not afraid. Eriksson was getting there again. Krejci and Bergeron are perfect examples – they really aren’t looking for a team full of Lucic’s.

      Crosby is a great example. He isn’t ‘tough’, but he’s physical. Seguin is not, Kessel is not.

      • c9castine - May 20, 2014 at 1:47 PM

        joe morrow would have had to do a lot of growing up in the last year or two, which given his age is entirely possible.

        i dont think being a bruin is hitting all the time. i think being a bruin is playing a tight structured game in the defensive and nuetral zones and yeah, some physicality. i dont think eriksson is that type of player which isnt bad, but when you try to make somebody into something they are not it can really hurt. bruins should be careful of that. and dont read that as i dont think eriksson plays two way hockey. just not like that. krejci does and thats why he succeeds so well in the playoffs without being a meathead like lucic (typically, i know he had a bad year).

        kessel def is not i never knocked you guys for that trade. guy is a bum.

        what happened to seguin was great. he went down and headlined a team with Benn and will be their leading star. one of the top players in the league this past season.

        like i said, Reilly is the meat of this trade and with the couple parts thrown in with him, thats how Boston comes out on top here. Likely.

        by the way bad luck isnt cliche. its just stupid. good conversation though

  7. nunan - May 20, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    Just look at his history. The guy was basically producing 70 pts a year. He can definitely be better. You can’t expect someone to step into a new system and produce while also dealing with multiple concussions, something he’s never had to deal with before. He’ll be okay. I like him paired with Soderberg, who is also clearly coming into his own. Excited to see what they do next year.

  8. dewzer - May 20, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    If you look at my past comments you will see that I have been no fan of Louie. That said, I actually thought he was one of the better Bs players in the debacle that was game 7. Bs need him to pick it up next year. Keeping his head up would help as he took a couple of bombs on top of the two concussion hits.

  9. clavette - May 20, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    erikson is only good on the power play where he isnt muscled off the puck. he needs to add muscle weight to his body before next season. everytime he went 1v1 into the corner with a defender this playoff he was bumped off the puck with little effort

    he did however play terrific in the olympics

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