Barring a trade, the Loui Eriksson era in Vancouver is far from over. In fact, quite the contrary as the veteran is preparing for the upcoming postseason with the hopes of playing a regular role with the Canucks, reports The Province’s Ben Kuzma. In an interview, Eriksson described how he has plenty of gas left in the tank, both for the playoffs this season and for years to come.
Eriksson, 35, still has two years left on his contract at an AAV of $6MM. However, the former 30-goal scorer has been relegated to a part-time role in Vancouver, playing in just 49 games this season. Many Canucks fans had hoped that Eriksson might opt to retire and leave his remaining money on the table due to the drop-off in his usage, but the veteran tells Kuzma that this won’t be the case. He plans to keep playing and the Canucks will have to find some other way to get rid of him if they no longer want him around next season. While the cap-strapped club would love to move on from Eriksson’s $6MM cap hit, which resulted in just 13 points this year, a buyout or an AHL demotion do relatively little to aid in their cap situation. Recent reports indicated that the asking price from other teams to take on Eriksson’s contract was a young roster player. As a result, Vancouver might find it difficult to move the veteran.
Fortunately, Eriksson’s personal relationship with the team does seem to be improving. This past summer, Eriksson did not exactly speak glowingly about his head coach Travis Green, stating that the two did not see eye to eye. However, he has changed his tune in talking with Kuzma, saying that the relationship between the two has been better. Eriksson also spoke about his love of the game and his desire to help the Canucks this postseason. Eriksson still believes that he can be an effective defensive forward and his performance has backed up this claim. While this may not amount to $6MM in value, it may come in handy along with his experience and leadership in the playoffs. What happens beyond this postseason remains to be seen and could very much be tied to Eriksson’s performance, but for now Canucks fans can only hope that after four disappointing seasons that their “star” free agent expenditure has saved his best for a deep playoff run this year.