Most of the focus on the Fourth of July trade of Tyler Seguin to Dallas has been on the 21-year-old forward and why the Bruins decided he could not reach his potential in Boston. But on Monday, the attention turned to the best player the Bruins got back in that deal, 27-year-old forward Loui Eriksson.
Eriksson had a conference call with the Boston media from his native Sweden on Monday and sounded excited to become part of the Bruins' revamped top-six forward group that will also include the newly signed Jarome Iginla.
"I'm really looking forward to playing in Boston," Eriksson said. "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 hasn’t gotten the chance to play in the playoffs in his last five seasons with Dallas. While his last taste of the Stanley Cup playoffs was a memorable experience (helping the Stars advance to the 2008 Western Conference finals with four goals and eight points in 18 playoff games), Eriksson is ready to be playing deep into the playoffs on a regular basis and ready to do so in a hockey-crazed city like Boston.
"It's a good hockey town. I've heard good things about the whole city," Eriksson said. "I'll be ready to play there, and it will be awesome. It will definitely be different than in Dallas [as a hockey market]. That's for sure. The Bruins have been one of the best teams in the league for the last few years. I'm just looking forward to doing what I can to help them get into the playoffs, and try to win a Cup."
With the Bruins signing Iginla the day after they acquired Eriksson, it is not known whether Eriksson -- who is a three-time 20-goal scorer with a career-high 36 lamplighters in 2008-09 -- will play with David Krejci and Milan Lucic on the first line or Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on the second line. But he has been told already he will be playing right wing.
"I've played both sides through my whole time played in Dallas,” he said. “And I know both sides. But I like to play on the right side and I know I've been talking to [general manager] Peter [Chiarelli] about it and he said he wants me to play on the right side. 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."
Given the fact Krejci is used to having physical wingers like Lucic and the recently departed Nathan Horton on both sides and that Eriksson is known for his solid two-way game, there's a good chance he will be playing where Seguin improved his two-way game at times, alongside Bergeron and Marchand. If that's the case, Eriksson would be thrilled to ride shotgun next to a player he holds tremendous respect for in Bergeron.
“He’s a really good player in the league and he’s been really good for many years here,” Eriksson said of Bergeron. “I think it will be a good fit for me to play with him. I know he’s a smart player and he can play a really good defensive game, all style. He can also score goals and do a lot of things out there so I think that will be a really good fit for me. I’m just going to try to make him better, too, when I play with him.”
Regardless of whom he plays with, Eriksson is very confident he can fit in with the Bruins' system and their physical brand of hockey.
“It’s how I’ve been playing through my years in Dallas,” said Eriksson, who had 12 goals and 29 points last season. “I’m not trying to take penalties that much and I haven’t so I know the Bruins like to play physical and they play really good that way so I’m going to try to do that, too. I’m going to try and do everything I can to help the team. 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. 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."