In case you missed it, Loui Eriksson and his magnificent porn mustache dropped a hatty on the Wild last night at the Garden sparking the first of what will certainly be many rounds of debate over what to do with the soon to be unrestricted free agent. Do you move him when his value is high, sign him early or wait until the last minute and risk getting nothing?
It’s literally been less than 24 hours since the game and I’m already sick of hearing people talk about this, so I want to lay it out there once so we can all move on and focus our energy on riding the emotional rollercoaster that is the 2015-16 season. Is it just me or is this team more unpredictable than a Pearl Jam concert? On any given night you could get an amazing show, but it’s just as likely that Eddie Vedder gets blackout drunk, pisses on the amps and ruins everything, but I digress.
Here’s your answer. You sign him as soon as you can and under no circumstance do you make a trade or risk free agency. This is a guy who is arguably one of the 2 or 3 most important players on this team and may be the single most underrated player in the entire league. On top of that he may be my 2nd favorite Swede behind PJ Axelsson.
Look, I get it, we’re all still pissed about the Seguin trade (for god’s sake stop comparing Loui and Segs, it’s like comparing Roadhouse and Rocky IV, they’re totally different but both kick ass in their own way) and we’re not exactly comfortable with big contracts after “Money Bags” Chiarelli threw around more cash than Rick Ross at his favorite gentlemen’s establishment. But here’s the thing, moving Loui this season would represent a significant step back regardless of return, as you simply won’t get equal value in the near term.
Sure, you could bring in a top “four-ish” D-man (Travis Hamonic or Tyson Barrie for example), but this would be a fairly shortsighted approach addressing one glaring need but likely creating a larger and potentially more glarring hole which will be a struggle to fill later (Check out this article from NESN.com detailing Loui’s ability to statistically elevate the play of others ). The other option would be a move for a first round pick or a high end prospect, representing a long term rebuild approach with the pick/prospect (barring the emergence of a standout NHL ready prospect) unlikely to contribute straight away, again representing a step back in the near term. With a majority of the high end talent at or approaching their peak years having a guy like Loui around for the next 4 or 5 years provides a massive lift for a team that will only get better during this time.
The bottom line is that you have to pay your best and most important players, and it’s clear that Sweet Lou fits the bill. He’s our best defensive forward not wearing number 37, he leads the team in PP goals (5) and PK +/- (-2) all while driving more possession (58% corsi for) than any other player and boosting possession numbers for others (all but 2 skaters see a lift in corsi for when on the ice w/Loui). Is he that classic bruising blood and guts player that gives B’s fans a warm tingling feeling our their collective nether regions? No, in fact he often appears at ease and relaxed regardless of the situation, and this is something we as fans need to embrace and learn to appreciate because Loui Eriksson is and should remain at the core of this team for years to come.
As always get in touch with us on Twitter @bruinsextra or reach me directly @mccarey18