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Red Wings’ Ericsson signs with third-tier Swedish team

Nashville Predators v Detroit Red Wings Game Four

DETROIT, MI - APRIL 17: Paul Gaustad #28 of the Nashville Predators battles for the puck with Jonathan Ericsson #52 of the Detroit Red Wings during the first period in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Joe Louis Arena on April 17, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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While many NHL players are taking their games to the major leagues of Finland, Russia, Switzerland, and Czech Republic - Detroit’s Jonathan Ericsson is taking things in a different direction.

Bob Duff of The Windsor Star reports Ericsson will head to Sweden to play for Vita Hästen in the 3rd division. Comparatively, that’s like playing in that country’s version of the ECHL. He played for Vita Hästen in his first season of pro hockey back in 2002-03 as an 18 year-old.

While he had a breakout in the playoffs back in 2009, he’s had his ups and downs with the Wings since then. That didn’t stop the team from signing him to a three-year, $9.75 million deal in the summer of 2011.

With Nicklas Lidstrom retired and Brad Stuart in San Jose, he’s now by default one of Detroit’s top four blue liners.