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Red Wings announce signing of Jonathan Ericsson to 6-year contract extension

Updated 13x at 3:04 PM: Red Wings fans will breathe a sigh of relief to hear this, and I don't think that would've been the case three or four years ago, but that was then...

That'll lock up "Big E" until he's 35 36, and TSN's Bob McKenzie reported that the average accrued value would be around $4 million per season.

Update: A $4.25 million cap hit is fine by me. Defensemen who can skate in a straight line earn $4.5 million these days, and players who can make plays in addition to skating in a straight line get upwards of $5 million these days.

Update #2: Good to see:

Update #3: The extension, she is officially official, per DetroitRedWings.com's Kyle Kujawa:

The Detroit Red Wings today signed defenseman Jonathan Ericsson to a six-year contract extension. In accordance with club policy, additional details will not be disclosed.

Originally drafted by Detroit with the last pick (291st overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Ericsson has played 292 games with the Red Wings since making his NHL debut in 2007-08. Over seven seasons with the organization, he has logged 62 points (14-48-62), a +14 rating and 242 penalty minutes. He has also posted 16 points (5-11-16), a +9 rating and 43 penalty minutes in 64 career postseason contests. This season, the 6-foot-4, 221-pound defenseman has tallied five points (1-4-5) and 16 penalty minutes in 15 games, while ranking second on the team with an average of 22:15 time on ice.

A native of Karlskrona, Sweden, Ericsson also recorded 63 points (15-48-63) and 185 penalty minutes in 136 games with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins from 2006-08. Prior to moving to North America, he skated in 81 contests with Sodertalje in the Swedish Elite League from 2003-06.

Update #4: The cap will go up:

The issue is that the Wings need to find room for Adam Almquist, and they want a top-four defenseman via trade this year or via free agency during the summer...

Update #4.5: MLive's Brendan Savage confirms in article form:

The Detroit Red Wings have signed defenseman Jonathan Ericsson to a six-year contract extension worth $25.5 million.

The Red Wings' salary cap hit will be $4.25 million per season.

Ericsson, 29, is making $3.25 million this season, his sixth full campaign in the NHL.

In 15 games this season, Ericsson has one goal, four assists, 16 penalty minutes and a plus-3 rating.

The 6-foot-4, 221-pound Ericsson was the Red Wings' ninth-round pick (291st overall) in the 2002 NHL entry draft. He was the final player selected in the draft that year.

Ericsson could have become an unrestricted free agent in July.

Update #5: The Windsor Star's Bob Duff posted a video of Ericsson speaking with the media:

Update #6: The Free Press's Helene St. James penned an article about Ericsson's extension:

Ericsson described himself as "really happy," about the deal. He hasn’t played for any NHL team but the Wings and didn't want to go anywhere else. He was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

"I really like it here," Ericsson said. "For me to be able to get a deal done here, now, it means a lot for me and my family."

Ericsson, 29, is a great example of why it pays to be patient. He had a great debut when he was called up during the 2009 playoffs to plug injury holes, after which he transitioned into a regular the following season, 2009-10. He had a period during which he was so turnover-prone that coach Mike Babcock sat him for a few games.

Through it, Ericsson — the last pick, at No. 291, in the 2002 NHL entry draft — stayed upbeat, eager to put in the hard work to keep growing.

"When I got drafted, I thought, 'This is a long shot for me,'" Ericsson said. "Just being able to maybe, one day ,play for the Red Wings, that was one thing. But to be here for — I don't know how many years it will be now — it's an amazing feeling."

General manager Ken Holland added: "We're happy to get Big E signed. He's really developed into a legitimate top-two, top-three defenseman."

Update #7: Here's the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness on Ericsson:

“Of course it’s great security,” Ericsson said after the Wings’ morning skate at Joe Louis Arena. “The longer you get the better it is. I’m really sure I want to be here and that for me was a big thing, I wanted to stay here as long they want me. I’m really comfortable in the city and really like being here.

Ericsson is in the final year of his deal that pays him $3.2 million a year. He was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

“I haven’t been anywhere else to compare it to, but I hear other guys coming here saying this is a top class organization from top to bottom,” Ericsson continued. “From Mr. and Mrs. (Ilitch), to Ken Holland and all the way down to the coaching staff and trainers, I couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m really happy here so why would I take a chance to go anywhere else.”

...

“It’s a great pick by our scouts, especially Hakan Andersson,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “To me he’s a unique player, he’s 6-foot-5 and he’s really mobile. That’s a tough combination. There are some defensemen like him in the league, but there aren’t a lot of 6-foot-5 guys that are mobile. Again, he’s 29, going to be 30 when this contract starts. He’s home grown, we’ve watched him from the draft table through Grand Rapids into a bottom pair defenseman to a top pair defenseman, so certainly a real important guy to our team.”

...

“It’s taken time,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He evolved and now he plays on our top pair. He’s a big man and he can pass the puck. He’s smart and he obviously likes playing here or he wouldn’t have signed the deal and we like having him. It’s good for all of us.”

...

“It’s not like Big E didn’t have his moments here where he struggled,” Babcock continued. “That’s most of these guys’ careers. It’s hard. There’s only so many stars and even those guys have up and down times. It’s no different than all of us.”

Ericsson is quite relieved this deal got done quicker than his last one, which was finalized just before free agency opened three years ago.

“I remember last time, it was a little nerve wracking coming near the end,” Ericsson said. “It was the first days of July and I didn’t know what was going to happen. Even though I wanted to stay here there were other things that I had to weigh in my decision too. It’s just really comfortable getting it done know. I don’t have to think about it during the summer, I know what I’m going to do know for the next few years. I’m really happy about it.”

Update #8: The Detroit News penned an article about the Wings' re-signing of Ericsson...

"I'm really happy about it, getting the chance to stay here in this organization," Ericsson said. "I really like it here and for me to be able to get a deal done here now, it means a lot for me and my family. I'm really proud to be a Red Wing. Hopefully this will turn out good for both of us."

With the draft now seven rounds instead of the nine when Ericsson was drafted, no player will ever be drafted lower in the draft and make it in the NHL than Ericsson.

"It's an amazing feeling," Ericsson said. "When I got drafted, this was a long shot for me."

With the loss of defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski to retirement, and Brad Stuart returning to San Jose, the Red Wings couldn't afford to lose any more experienced defensemen.

"You can't just keep losing players," general manager Ken Holland said. "After a while, you wake up and there's not enough players. I went to his agent and told him it was a priority for us to get him signed. He's a real important player on our team."

As did the Windsor Star's Bob Duff:

Selected last overall with the 291st pick of the 2002 NHL entry draft, it was a long road to the show for Ericsson, 29, but he’s blossomed the last few seasons, given added responsibility as veteran defencemen Brian Rafalski, Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart all departed from Detroit.

Ericsson knows that the last pick in the NFL draft is celebrated as Mr. Irrelevant.

“I think they called me that lots of times,” he laughed. “I’m actually glad. I’d rather be the last pick than the fifth-to-last pick. I’m making some kind of history.”

Ericsson believes it was his inner will that made him an NHL regular.

“I think I’ve always been a late bloomer when it comes to everything,” Ericsson said. “I think working out and being determined in what you want to do is a key factor. I haven’t always been the most talented guy. My older brother (Jimmie) is more talented than me, but he doesn’t like working out or being that determined to reach that far. He’s a great hockey player, but he doesn’t have that mentality off the ice that maybe I have and that’s kept me going.”

Update #9: The Free Press's St. James posted a video of Ericsson and Ken Holland speaking with the media:

Update #10: This Tweet from the Free Press's Helene St. James is ridiculous:

Update #11: MLive's Ansar Khan penned an Ericsson signing article:

To me he’s a unique player; he’s 6-foot-5 and he’s really mobile. That’s a tough combination,’’ Holland said. “There are some defensemen like him in the league, but there’s not a lot of 6-foot-5 guys that are mobile. Certainly a real important guy to our team.” A third-pair defenseman behind the likes of Niklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart his first few years in the league, Ericsson has taken advantage of the opportunity to play on the top pairing with Kronwall since the start of last season.

“He’s a big man and he can pass the puck,’’ coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s smart and he obviously likes playing here.’’

“It’s not like Big E didn’t have his moments here where he struggled; that’s most of these guys’ careers,’’ Babcock said. “It’s hard. There’s only so many stars, and even those guys have up and down times. Sport mirrors life. You got to choose your attitude every day, bring it every day. Sometimes it doesn’t go good. So what? Get up and go again the next day.’’

Holland noted Ericcson is another in a long line of terrific late-round picks by their scouts, in particular Hakan Andersson, their longtime director of European scouting.

“He’s paid his dues, he’s gone to Grand Rapids (for three seasons),’’ Holland said. “He was a forward earlier in his career (as a teen in Sweden), but he made the transition to defenseman. So it’s been a learning process.’’

...

“If you have Lidstrom or Kronwall, and it looks like maybe (Danny) DeKeyser, to play guys with, they look good,’’ Babcock said. “But when you don’t have one of those guys to play them with it maybe takes you some time to become a good player in the league.’’

It’s already been a good year for Ericsson, who became a father last month with the birth of daughter Liv.

“It’s been a lot of things going on, only good positive things,’’ Ericsson said. “I’m kind of living in a dream right now. I’m a lucky guy: baby, this (contract), Winter Classic, possibly the Olympics and possibly a Stanley Cup. We’ll see.’’

Update #12: Via RedWingsFeed, the Wings posted videos of Ericsson talking about his contract for five-and-a-half minutes...

And Ken Holland talking about Ericsson for 4 minutes:

Update #13: The AP posted a story about Ericsson's signing:

The Detroit Red Wings signed defenseman Jonathan Ericsson to a $25.5 million, six-year contract Wednesday to keep him off the market in July.

"He would've been tough to lose in free agency," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "This was a big priority because in a two-year period, we lost Nick Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski and Brad Stuart. We couldn't afford to lose Big E, too."

Detroit drafted Ericsson with the last pick in the 2002 NHL draft, 291st overall, and he has played in 292 games since making his debut in the league during the 2007-08 season. He averaged 20-plus minutes a game last season for the first time in his career, which previously included sitting and watching defensemen such as Lidstrom, Rafalski and Stuart play a lot more.

"He had a tremendous opportunity last year as one of our top defensemen for the first time and he took full advantage of it," Holland said. "When we played Chicago and Anaheim in the playoffs, he played against their best offensive players. Big E is a big guy who is really mobile and has developed into a player we count on in a lot of situations."

The 29-year-old Ericsson has 14 goals, 62 points and a plus-14 rating entering Wednesday night's game against the Boston Bruins over at least parts of seven NHL seasons. The Swede has five goals and 16 points in 64 postseason games. He had 13 points - two shy of his career high - in 45 games last season during the lockout-shortened slate. Ericsson is in the third and final season of a three-year contract he signed in the summer of 2011.

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Comments

TreKronor's avatar

That’s a good deal now, and will continue to be in upcoming years while the cap goes up. 

I will fully admit I was a hater a few years ago, but he truly has become a solid player and I’m happy to have him on the team.

Posted by TreKronor on 11/27/13 at 11:50 AM ET

LivinLaVidaLockout's avatar

Good signing, now just waiting for the Cleary extension.

Posted by LivinLaVidaLockout on 11/27/13 at 11:54 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

$4.25 million is very fair and very reasonable.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 11/27/13 at 11:56 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Great signing. He had a great playoff when he came up in ‘09, and I think that most Wings fans were a bit spoiled by that, and forgot to adjust their expectations the following year based on the realities of small sample size, and the fact that despite being a bit older, Big E was still relatively new to playing defense.

There’s no doubt he experienced a “sophmore slump” of sorts, but it was reasonable to expect that. It happens with almost all players, especially defenders. I felt like the light bulb went off down the home stretch of ‘12 when he returned from injury—it was like that injury allowed him to reset or something, and he immediately stepped into the lineup and played really really good hockey the rest of ‘12, and has only gotten slowly but surely steadier since then. Makes you wonder if he had been dealing with some other lingering injuries and the time off got all the bumps and bruises worked out.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 11/27/13 at 11:58 AM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Solid signing.
If anything gets extended to Cleary, it outta be a one way ticket to GR.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 11/27/13 at 11:59 AM ET

TKShreve's avatar

I’m with the consensus that 3 years ago I would have said no effin’ way. But he really has turned into a rock. He’ll never put up 30 pts. in a season, but his defensive prowess and stay-at-home mentality is much needed on our porous blue-line.

Posted by TKShreve from East Uptown on 11/27/13 at 12:00 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

I still say his and DK’s first passes show signs of Lidstrom and Rafalski’s…not to mention E52 has grown into his own…

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 11/27/13 at 12:07 PM ET

Avatar

Congrats Big E! Wow, I called this EXACT amount 2 weeks ago. Kronner makes 4.75 and I predicted 4.25 lol Anyway, this is a solid move. Keep ‘er going Ericsson!

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 11/27/13 at 12:13 PM ET

cigar_nurse's avatar

Good signing with a fair cap hit. I too was one of the doubters when his last contract was signed but he has really picked up his game when his fellow d-men Raffy, TPH, and Stuart left the team. Now let’s get a #1-or 2 man defender to stiffen up the d. Ya hear me Kenny? Chop-chop.

Wishing you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving to you and yours,  readers of this magnificent blog that we must all be thankful for. All the best Emperor and George.

Posted by cigar_nurse from On LTIR for the Greenville Pylons on 11/27/13 at 12:13 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

It’s hard to argue with the player E-52 has become.  Great signing.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 11/27/13 at 12:14 PM ET

topshelf14's avatar

I swear Big E has some offense in their that is waiting to come out. I wish Babcock would give him and his big blast of a slapshot an opportunity on the PP.

Posted by topshelf14 from Detroit, MI on 11/27/13 at 12:28 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Even two years ago, this would be a monstrosity of a contract. Now it’s a deal.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 11/27/13 at 12:44 PM ET

Avatar

Great signing.  I hated his last contract, it seemed like a ridiculous overpayment for nothing but potential, but I’m happy to see that the investment paid off.

The issue is that the Wings need to find room for Adam Almquist, and they want a top-four defenseman via trade this year or via free agency during the summer…

Saying good-bye to Kyle Quincey and Brendan Smith would make perfect room.

Posted by Garth on 11/27/13 at 12:50 PM ET

Tracy from T-Town Hockey 's avatar

I wish Babcock would give him and his big blast of a slapshot an opportunity on the PP.

He’s become too important on the penalty kill, but I would like to see that.  I believe his slap shot was clocked at over 100 back when he was with the Griffins.  Honestly, I don’t think Kronner’s shot is hard enough for the PP.  There doesn’t tend to be any rebounds given out from it.  Plus with Johnny’s reach, you would think he could hold the pucks in better.

Posted by Tracy from T-Town Hockey on 11/27/13 at 12:53 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

The market changes, folks.

Now we’re going to find out whether the Wings really want to be as patient with Smith, or whether he’ll be tossed off in an attempt to find a top-four defenseman via trade. Quincey is all but assuredly not back with Almquist running out of waiver options, and it’s time for Jakub Kindl to take the next step and prove that he’s a top-four defenseman. And Ouellet and Sproul may throw a wrench into the proceedings, too.

Next up: re-signing DeKeyser?

Nice problems to have.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 11/27/13 at 12:55 PM ET

awould's avatar

I’m glad I was wrong. $3MM+ seemed way too much and now $4MM+ seems too little. Great signing and Ericsson has more than earned it.

I find it ironic that people who admit they hated the Ericsson signing a couple years ago now steadily bash Brendan Smith for making dumb mistakes in what’s basically his second season. His attitude could use some adjusting and DeKeyser makes him look bad, but he’s still pretty raw.

Posted by awould on 11/27/13 at 01:02 PM ET

Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit's avatar

One of the best moves in years. E-52 has always been a keeper in my book.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 11/27/13 at 01:18 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

That’ll lock up “Big E” until he’s 35

When I first read that, I thought it had to be a mistake. It’s kind of shocking that Ericsson is 29 now. Even more shocking that he was drafted 12 years ago.

E52 is the only one still with Detroit from that 2002 draft class that saw the Wings take Jiri Hudler, Tomas Fleischmann, Valteri Filppula, Johan Berggren, Logan Koopmans, Jimmy Cuddihy, Derek Meech, Pierre-Olivier Beaulie, and Christian Soderstrom before him. And Nik Kronwall’s brother Staffan was taken six spots earlier by Toronto.

Funny how things work out sometimes.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 11/27/13 at 01:28 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

That’s a good deal now, and will continue to be in upcoming years while the cap goes up. 
I will fully admit I was a hater a few years ago, but he truly has become a solid player and I’m happy to have him on the team.
Posted by TreKronor on 11/27/13 at 10:50 AM ET

This ^^^^
I was not a big fan of Ericsson but he’s done great. Sometimes I love when I’m wrong. Now if Holland can prove me wrong all will be good with the universe.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 11/27/13 at 01:54 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Not bad at all for a Mr. Irrelevant.  I like this deal knowing that the cap will go up next year.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 11/27/13 at 02:40 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Helene St. James delivers a ridiculously amazing stat:

#RedWings now have defensemen Jonathan Ericsson & Niklas Kronwall signed at least thru 2018-19, at combined salary cap hit of $9 million.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 11/27/13 at 02:50 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Sorry to be picky, but the extension picks up next summer, so Riggy will be under contract until he’s 36, not 35.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/27/13 at 03:06 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Edited.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 11/27/13 at 03:18 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

General manager Ken Holland said, “we’re happy to get Big E signed. He’s really developed into a legitimate top-two, top-three defenseman.”

He should’ve added that Ian White and Carlo Colaicovo are d-men that garner 3m on the open market.

Don’t get me wrong I like Big E, but his ceiling shouldn’t be manufactured into something it isn’t to support the extension. 

Then again, if Holland is telling us that this is the best he’s going to be able to do with the top 2 lines of D-men we can all stop hoping for a Lids-Rafalski/Kronner-Stuart type tandem anytime this decade.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 11/27/13 at 03:24 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I don’t know how you can translate being happy to re-sign Ericsson with being satisfied with the defense. I have no doubt whatsoever that the team will *try* to add another top-four defenseman via trade or free agency, with a harder push being made to acquire one at the trade deadline.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 11/27/13 at 03:46 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.