MIDDLETON, Mass. -- With Jarome Iginla signed in Colorado, there’s a well-publicized vacancy on the Bruins top line at right wing. Earlier this summer, general manager Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien both mentioned Loui Eriksson as a player that could fill that spot.
After Iginla signed a three-year, $16 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche at the start of the free-agent period on July 1, it didn’t take long for the Bruins to tab Eriksson as a possible replacement on the top unit, along with center David Krejci and left wing Milan Lucic.
On Monday, Eriksson, said he’s ready to play on the top line.
“They’ve been playing many years together, so they know each other really well. I’m just going to try to help them as much as I can. We haven’t played many games together, so we’ll see how everything works out. I’m really looking forward to it,” said Eriksson, who was participating in former teammate Shawn Thornton’s annual charity golf tournament, “Putts & Punches for Parkinson’s” at Ferncroft Country Club
Eriksson's first season in Boston didn’t go as planned. It took him a while to learn Julien’s system, plus he suffered a pair of concussions that hampered his transition from the Dallas Stars to the Bruins. But Eriksson started to play well prior to the Olympic break, and continued when he returned from helping his native Sweden to a silver medal.
Eriksson played the majority of the season on Boston’s third line, with Carl Soderberg and Chris Kelly. Overall, Eriksson, known for his two-way game, finished with 10 goals and 27 assists for 37 points in 61 regular-season games, including a plus-14 rating. In 12 games during the Stanley Cup playoffs, he posted two goals and three assists for five points.
Eriksson’s been preparing physically and mentally for the upcoming season and wants to build on the strides he made in his first season with the Bruins.
“Of course, you think about it,” Eriksson said. “You want to be better. I learned the system a lot my first year and how to play here. It’s definitely a little bit easier this year to come in; you know everyone around here, and I think it’s going to be easier this year with everything, so I’m looking forward to it.
“It definitely helps when you’re familiar with everything and all the people around you. It’s easier to adjust to that. I was disappointed with how the season ended, so I really want to come [to camp] in good shape and show them that I can play really good.”