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Discussing Jonathan Ericsson’s pluses and minuses

The Free Press's Helene St. James discusses Jonathan Ericsson's ups and downs over this past season in a profile that speaks honestly about his capabilities as a mid-to-low-pair defenseman that the Wings have over-relied upon:

Looking back: The Wings took a flier on Ericsson when they selected him last in the 2002 draft, 291st overall. After having trouble his first few seasons with turnovers, Ericsson improved and became a decent partner for Niklas Kronwall, playing a steady, stay-at-home game and killing penalties. Last season, however, Ericsson was a top-four guy who too often played like a No. 6 D-man. It didn’t help that he was partnered a good deal with Kronwall, whose play was affected by a bad knee. Ericsson led the defense with 121 hits and 61 giveaways. He logged the second-most minutes among the penalty killers, at a 2:37 average per game, but ranked sixth among the team’s defensemen with 48 blocked shots.

Looking ahead: Ericsson turned 32 in March, so if he is fully healthy, he should be able to play better. Maybe new defense coach Doug Houda can find a way to get more out of Ericsson — every now and then when he really gets fired up, he shows how he can impact a game. Ericsson does not play with the physicality possible from someone who is 6 feet 4, 220 pounds, and he’s not offensively flashy by any means, but he’s capable of better skating and defense than what he turned in last season. It’s unfortunate if the long contract has made him comfortable.

St. James makes a solid point here: the Wings will probably get more out of Ericsson and Kronwall if the team "platoons" its 3 defensive pairs instead of over-relying upon one over the other.

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Hootinani's avatar

There are no pluses because the things he has that would normally be considered as assets he doesn’t use in any effective manner.

On top of all that, he has already stated multiple times that his wrist will never be 100%, so it’s silly to hope for a healthy E52.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 07/16/16 at 09:33 AM ET


I don’t expect any more from Big E than what we generally see. A guy who tends to stand around at crucial moments and doesn’t engage physically…thus losing his biggest asset.

He is not capable of playing top minutes and the sooner the Wings’ brass realize that, the better for all concerned. Another year like the last couple and Kenny will need to make the hard decision to buy him out.

Posted by NewfieWing on 07/16/16 at 09:48 AM ET

duhduhduh's avatar

Maybe we could convert him to a big, checking forward and put him on a line with Glennie and Miller. We can call them the highest paid 4 th line in the show.

Posted by duhduhduh on 07/16/16 at 10:10 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Two years ago, I think, he was playing quite well. Last year want good by any means but Heck kronwall was absolutely horrible as well.

E52 is not a 1st pair dman, but neither is kronwall. Key is to either get guys that can play the top defensive pair fir this team or balance out e52 and 55s ice time so they aren’t playing 22 min a night.

Blashill:that applies for everyone on the team not named Larkin. Play larkin 22 min a night

Posted by TreKronor on 07/16/16 at 10:31 AM ET


E was pretty darn good for a stretch until that broken finger damaged the tendon and made it hard for him to grip the stick. I think GM even pointed out how he was using a stick with a different flex for a year because of the limitations.

On a side note, I know they capped the term on contracts during the last lockout. I wonder if during the next CBA negotiations if the league would try to get to the NBA model of max of 5 for your own players and 4 for free agents. I know the players wouldn’t like it, but I have think GM’s would like it. I feel like we fans would like it.

Posted by easmus on 07/16/16 at 01:07 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

Only HSJ could find a plus with Errorson. 29 other teams don’t want him either or his contract, probably both

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 07/16/16 at 05:24 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

We are stuck with him. Hoping he plays better on the third pairing. That’s about it. shock

Posted by bigfrog on 07/16/16 at 05:36 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.