Eriksson ready for 'big decision' with free agency looming


Eriksson ready for 'big decision' with free agency looming

BOSTON – The best, and perhaps the most uncertain, season of Loui Eriksson’s time with the Bruins officially came to a close last weekend.

Eriksson played in all 82 games for the Bruins with 30 goals and 63 points along with a plus-13 rating, and was used liberally in all situations for the Black and Gold on the power play, penalty kill and key moments at the end of periods or games. He also managed to stick around for the final months in Boston when the Bruins couldn’t find a deal to their liking at the deadline for the unrestricted free agent, and played pretty well amid the stretch of possibly getting traded midseason.

In short it was a successful individual season for the Swedish winger, and exactly what the Bruins thought they were getting in his first two seasons in Boston before a couple of concussions got in the way.

“I feel good about where I am in my game. All I can do is work hard this summer, and get even better,” said the 30-year-old Eriksson. “It’s a big decision, where I end up. So, we’ll see what’s going to happen this summer. I had three great years here, and we’ll see what’s going to happen here this summer. That’s all I can say.”

There will be no shortage of interest in Eriksson should he get to unrestricted free agency on July 1 no matter what the Bruins indicated the offers were for him at the trade deadline, and he’ll be among a number of high-profile free agent forwards including Milan Lucic, Kyle Okposo and Steve Stamkos among others. It’s certain that we’ll get the perfunctory line from Bruins general manager Don Sweeney that the Bruins would love to retain a high quality player like Eriksson at the right price, and that kind of empty talk will go right up until they trade his rights for a nominal draft pick leading up to July.

It’s also pretty clear the Bruins aren’t going to get to the five- or six-year term that Eriksson will be looking for, or the roughly $6 million per season the versatile, productive winger could get from a team like Vancouver, Minnesota or St. Louis that might be desperate for his services.

So it’s highly likely that Monday’s breakup day served as Eriksson’s last action as a member of the Black and Gold after a controversial three years following the Tyler Seguin deal with Dallas, and that the book might be almost closed completely on the franchise-altering trade that went down three years ago between the Bruins and Stars. 

Krug steps up as Bruins stars go down

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Krug steps up as Bruins stars go down

The Bruins have managed to take three of a possible six points since Zdeno Chara went down in the third period of last week's comeback win over the Carolina Hurricanes, and they've done it completely without their top pairing since Charlie McAvoy has also been out all this time.

There are a number of factors behind the ability to withstand the injuries, of course, and the entire defense corps was stellar at both ends in the shutout win over Tampa Bay last weekend.


But it's Torey Krug who's really stepped up his game. He had three assists and 15 shots on net in those three games, and was immense in the win over the Lightning.

Krug has surpassed the 50-point plateau for the second straight season, a major accomplishment for a defenseman who prides himself on his puck-moving and power-play work.

"You know, he has [stepped up]," coach Bruce Cassidy said of Krug, adding: "Torey is always going to get his numbers, but he's really added to it 5-on-5 . . . [It] was comforting to see that [without Chara and McAvoy] we shut out one of the best teams [in the NHL], at home, that was rested. You've got to take something out of that. It was one of 82 [games], but that was a real positive for our guys."

For Krug, the challenge of stepping up and being a leader in the team's time of need is the kind of thing he takes pride in responding to with an elevated level of play.

"I'm in the business of winning hockey games and helping my team win," said Krug. "It falls on my shoulders to produce some offense from the back end. And [when] we're missing a couple of guys from the back end that do that push the pace, then you've got to step up and make some plays. When you play with a lot of great players then you'll get your points, and you just need to worry about the defensive zone first.

"We're confident in everybody in this room. A lot of people think that the guys on our back end can't get the job done, so for us to step up [is a good thing]."


The biggest sign of Krug's increased responsibility? He topped 26 minutes of ice time in two of the three games since Chara was injured. Only once before, when he was on the ice for 27-plus minutes against the Rangers in early November, has he played more than that.

The loss of Chara and McAvoy has forced Krug to go above and beyond his normal range of duties and he's stepped up and embraced it. That's what good players on good teams do, and it's something Krug has consistently done in the big moments since arriving in Boston five years ago.


Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

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Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

The Ottawa Senators announced Tuesday that team captain Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda lost their son one month before his due date.


"The collective thoughts and prayers of the Ottawa Senators organization, the city of Ottawa and entire hockey community rest with Erik and Melinda Karlsson following the loss of their son.

We ask that you respect the family's wishes for privacy during the grieving process."

The couple announced via Instagram in November that they were expecting, and the CBC reports the baby was due in April.

Sens head coach Guy Boucher spoke about the tragedy after Ottawa's game vs the Panthers on Tuesday (1:36 mark in video below).

Karlsson, a rumored Bruins target before the trade deadline, received heartfelt condolences from the hockey world on Twitter:

Our thoughts too go out to Erik and Melinda during this incredibly difficult time.