Centre Adam Gaudette will draw into the lineup in Eriksson’s place.
“I want to get him in, so he’s in,” head coach Travis Green said of Gaudette. “He showed confidence in the pre-season and he had a good training camp.”
Eriksson, 34, is in the fourth year of a six-year, $36 million contract with the Canucks. Over the off-season, reports from Sweden surfaced of Eriksson upset by his role and relationship with Green.
However, once the team reported for camp the coach and player seemingly resolved their differences, and Eriksson was in the lineup for Wednesday’s opening night loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
“It’s always fighting for the spots on the team. I think everyone coming in for this training camp is going to fight to earn a spot,” Eriksson said at the team’s pre-camp golf tournament. “It’s the same for me, the same for everyone. All you can do is give it your best and try to earn a spot and find a role on the team. Help the team to win — that’s all that matters.”
Eriksson’s comments could also apply to Gaudette, who played his way onto the team with a strong camp. At 23-years-old, Gaudette’s spot on the team was far from secure entering camp, but after scoring two goals and four points in four pre-season games, Sven Baertschi was put on waivers to make room for him.
Gaudette is expected to centre the third line Saturday between Josh Leivo and Jake Virtanen. Brandon Sutter, who centred the third line against the Oilers, will slide to wing on the fourth line while Virtanen moves up to take Eriksson’s wing spot on the third line.