Loui Eriksson’s biggest strength on the ice is his ability to adapt to different situations.
The Vancouver Canucks‘ prized off-season acquisition had to utilize those skills in his personal life during an off-season that was “kind of crazy” in the Eriksson household.
Eriksson was one of the most sought-after free agents this past summer so when negotiations to re-sign with the Boston Bruins fell through he hit the open market.
Uprooting one’s life and joining a new team is nerve-racking in and of itself but when you have a brigade of young children to account for it can be extra stressful.
Eriksson and his wife welcomed their fourth child into the world in June while still in Boston all the while knowing they’d likely be living in a different city in the near future.
“There’s a lot of things going on but that’s how hockey life is. Sometimes you don’t know where you’re going to be playing,” Eriksson told Sportsnet during the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto.
He wound up inking a six-year, $36-million contract with the Canucks and it appears to be an ideal fit for Eriksson and his family. Eriksson’s connection to Daniel and Henrik Sedin in particular should make the transition much smoother both on and off the ice.
“If you have questions they know everything about the city, they’ve been there so long,” Eriksson said of the Sedins. “Their wives have been helping out my wife with everything [involved with the move] so that makes it easier.”
Eriksson will start the regular season playing on a line with the twins and while they only suited up for two pre-season games together, Canucks fans should have zero concern about their chemistry.
The Sedins have enough talent to make anyone look good playing alongside them, though they seem to have a special connection with Eriksson. The three men played together during the 2014 Olympics and did so once again on Team Sweden last month at the World Cup of Hockey.
Their combined six points in four games didn’t jump off the page but that trio dominated in terms of puck possession most shifts and generated quality scoring chances during tournament and pre-tournament play.
Daniel believes developing chemistry together in a tournament setting like that was valuable considering they missed out on most of training camp and NHL pre-season.
“We’re going to have some familiarity. It’ll be good for sure,” Daniel said. “He’s going to help any line on our team. That’s his strength. He can move up and down in the lineup. We’ll see what the coaches do but we’re really looking forward to a good season.”
From the second it was announced that Eriksson had chosen to join the Canucks it was blatantly obvious he’d be the player on the Sedins’ wing come opening night.
“I think there was a belief that we signed him specifically to play with Daniel and Henrik,” Canucks president of hockey operations Trevor Linden told Sportsnet. “Now, he may very well play there the whole year, but I think the fact of the matter is his overall versatility and his two-way ability is something that was really desirable and valuable so that probably was a bigger impact than saying ‘we’re signing this player strictly to play with Daniel and Henrik.’ ”
Eriksson, 31, is coming off a 30-goal, 63-point campaign with the Bruins — his highest point total in four years and highest goal total in seven — and Linden loves the intangibles he brings to the table.
“Loui’s the type of player — I played against him in Dallas — and he’s got such great versatility whether it’s right wing or left wing, he can even play centre,” Linden added. “He’s a guy that can play the power play, he can kill penalties, he’s responsible, he’s dependable, he’s a last minute of the period kind of guy.”
The Canucks are a team surrounded by questions and middling expectations, but Eriksson thriving with the Sedins should be something the team and its fans can count on.