It's been five years since Loui Eriksson last played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
So when the call came from his agent about waiving his no-trade clause to go from the Dallas Stars to the Boston Bruins, Eriksson talked it over with his family and approved the move as quickly as he could.
"Yeah, I'm really looking forward to playing in Boston," the left-shooting wing said during a conference call Monday. "It's a really good team. You know, the last couple years they've been a really good team, so I'm real excited to go there and play. Everything happened really fast with the trade, but I'm really excited and I'm really looking forward to it. It will be awesome to come there and play. I'm going to try to play my best and try to help them win the Cup."Eriksson's seven seasons in Dallas included a run to the Western Conference Final in 2008. He contributed four goals and eight points in 18 games during that stretch and has four goals and nine points in 22 career NHL postseason games. Eriksson, who will turn 28 years old later this month, joins a team that has made the playoffs six straight seasons, has played for the Stanley Cup twice in three years, and is three seasons removed from winning the Cup.
The 6-foot-2, 196-pound forward saw the Bruins from afar over the years and gained an appreciation for the way they play.
"I've watched some games in the playoffs, and of course I watched many games when they played because I know they're a good team," Eriksson said. "So I know they play a tough sort of style and a good defensive style, so I think that will fit me real well. I like to play that way and I'm just happy to come to a team like Boston. I know it's a really good team to play on."
Though they were nearly successful in their bid for the Cup in 2013, coming up two wins short against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Bruins have undergone a roster overhaul at right wing this offseason. After Seguin and Peverley were traded, Nathan Horton made good on his promise to leave by signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets as a free agent. Eriksson said he's more comfortable at right wing, so he should fit well into Boston's top-six forwards.
The expectation is he will play either with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron in the place Seguin occupied for much of last season, or skate next to Milan Lucic and David Krejci, who combined with Horton to create one of the League's most potent lines in the playoffs. Eriksson's open to any situation.
"I've played both sides through my whole time I played in Dallas. And I know both sides. But I like to play on the right side and I know I've been talking to [Boston general manager] Peter [Chiarelli] about it and he said he wants me to play on the right side," Eriksson said. "So I think that will be a good fit for me. I know they have real good players, especially Bergeron, and they have Krejci as centermen, and they have a lot of good players to play with. So I don't think it will be any problem to play with those guys because they're going to make me better and I'm going to try to make them better too. So it will be real nice to come and play with them."
Part of where Eriksson plays in the Bruins lineup will be based on where free-agent signee Jarome Iginla fits in and how Eriksson produces. In 48 games last season, Eriksson had 29 points (12 goals). His 0.60 points per game was his least productive average since he scored at an 0.45 pace in 2007-08. He averaged a career-best 0.92 points per game in 2010-11 and as recently as the 2011-12 season averaged 0.87 points per game.
The 2012-13 campaign was frustrating for the Swede.
"It was kind of disappointing for me. It was a tough season for me, actually," he said. "I didn't feel that good through the year. I think I hit the post and out like the whole year. So I'm looking to a rebound year next year and try to make better plays. It was kind of a weird year for me this year too. I was playing on every line, so I didn't find any confidence to play with anyone there. So it was kind of a tough one for me."
Eriksson said he was healthy throughout the season, and now he'll get a fresh start in Boston. It might take a little time to adjust to a new team and a new city, but he's embracing that challenge.
"Yeah, it will be a little different than Dallas. I'm really excited to go there and see all the fans. I know they have a lot of people coming to the games and it's a really good hockey town," Eriksson said. "I heard a lot of good things about Boston, the whole city, and it'll be nice to check it out before everything starts and I'll be ready to play there, and it will be awesome."
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