Will Loui Eriksson ever catch a break in Vancouver? The former 30-goal scorer’s tenure with the Canucks has been an unmitigated disaster, with constant injury issues playing a role in two streaky, underwhelming seasons. Eriksson has suited up for just 115 of the Canucks’ 164 combined games over the past two seasons and has registered only 21 goals and 47 points in that time. Eriksson himself surely wants to be better, but the Canucks need him to improve at $6MM per season. The hope was the Eriksson could finally stay healthy and play up to expectations this season. That illusion has already been shattered.
The Province’s Ben Kuzma relayed bad news from Canucks head coach Travis Green earlier today. Accurately, Kuzma says “the injury bug bites Eriksson again”, as the veteran forward is considered week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Eriksson was injured blocking a shot in Vancouver’s preseason game against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. Green describes the injury as a bone bruise to the leg, which does not sound overly serious. However, given that Eriksson missed 14 games with a knee injury last season (and another 18 with broken ribs), it is possible that the injury could be more serious if located near that same suspect area.
With free agent addition Antoine Roussel also sidelined with a concussion, and no timeline for a return, the Canucks seem likely to begin the season short-handed up front. Given the turnover for Vancouver this off-season, namely the retirement of Henrik and Daniel Sedin, it’s unclear where Eriksson and Roussel would have slotted in if healthy, but both typically line up at left wing. Their absences could mean that Brendan Leipsic or Tim Schaller play elevated roles to begin the year or that Jonathan Dahlen, Tanner Kero, or Tyler Motte have a chance to break camp. Either way, the Canucks will eagerly await the return of two players who need to be at their best if the team can take a step forward this season.