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Ericsson Being Paid Like A Top 4 Dman

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson realizes expectations have been raised and pressure will increase after he signed a three-year, $9.75 million contract on July 1.

He is looking forward to proving that he deserves to be paid like a top-four defenseman.

“They’re showing some confidence in me,’’ Ericsson said Monday, after an informal skate at Joe Louis Arena. “I got to take advantage of that and try to do the best of it.

“It’s up to (me). They’re going to have higher expectations of me. I’m looking forward to it. Little bit more pressure, but that’s always good.’‘

continued plus the Wings will attend the funeral of Brad McCrimmon…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jonathan+ericsson


Dynasty_1926's avatar

I really hope big E lives up to this… I must say I was shocked to hear the $ amount, but it seems this is what defensemen are commanding.  In Kenny we trust!

Posted by Dynasty_1926 on 09/12/11 at 02:43 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

This contract sybmolically represents a shift away from in the Bowman salary approach for the Wings that went on for nearly 20 years; prove your worth and you will be rewarded by staying here and being paid slightly below market value.

The Wings have never given Ericcson the time that he deserved to be paid as a top 4 defender.  Yet we fans were told that the contract terms (made in the late hours leading up to the UFA market hounds being released) were made as an adjustment to the “whacky” defensive FA market that was out there.

Just 24 hours later the FA market began to play itself out, Ericcson’s deal quickly has become one of the more ill-advised knee-jerk deals in the post-lockout salary cap world.  Ian White (who is a superior dman with loads more experience in the top 4 is being paid less).

Don’t think for a minute that this has criticism has nothing to do with Ericcson’s skill set, he may very well be a top 4 defender that the rest of the hockey world has yet to recognize.  The problem lies with that very notion, he should’ve been given a smaller term deal to prove who he really is and Holland probably should’ve stopped there with his top 4 d-man shopping.  Instead, the Wings went out and got Ian White to further complicate their depth chart. 

And before you go down the line of thinking that leads you to believe that perhaps he’ll be traded, ask yourself this:  How do you make a player like Ericcson marketable from a trade perspective if you aren’t even giving him the time on the rink to justify it? 

See how Brian Burke did with trying to off-load Jeff Fingers 3.5m+ deal for the past four years?  Teams simply do not take gambles on bigger paying deals in this era.  If you have Holland figured out this time, hats off to ya.  He’s lost me on these moves.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 09/12/11 at 02:43 PM ET

red_wings_49's avatar

Yeah, he better start playing like a top Dman… otherwise he’s going to be on the hot seat REALLY quickly.

Posted by red_wings_49 from Mad Heights, MI on 09/12/11 at 03:09 PM ET


This contract sybmolically represents a shift away from in the Bowman salary approach for the Wings that went on for nearly 20 years;

No it doesn’t.  It represents the Wings losing Rafalski, seeing Ehrhoff sign with Buffalo and seeing Wisniewski’s rights get traded to Columbus, then deciding that while they still have Lidstrom in the fold they want to give Ericsson every chance to prove himself, knowing that he would likely be overpaid if he hit the free agent market.

Then, with the White signing (and to a lesser extend the Commodore signing), Holland gets to give Ericsson a chance to blossom.  If he does, then Holland has what he wants, which is three pairings that can take on roughly equal playing time and if he doesn’t blossom then Holland will still have a solid top-four and three guys who can compete for the third pairing.

The Wings still have that philosophy (see recent Helm, Abdelkader, Eaves, Miller, Commodore, Kindl, Mursak, Joey Mac contracts) but every once in a while they shell out more than they want to in order to bring in a new player or re-sign someone (see Rafalski signing and Stuart signing at that time).

Posted by Garth on 09/12/11 at 03:54 PM ET

Slumpy's avatar

Agree Leo.
At least we know our Wings got good enough defenseman to take his job if he completely stinks this season. Kindl and Smith I think are already both better than him.
“Little bit more pressure,” said Ericsson. Uh I don’t think he gets it or maybe he just isn’t motivated to improve much. This guy could be like Redden playing in the AHL next season at some point.
Ericsson needs to assert himself more physically consistantly.

Posted by Slumpy from Under My Wheels on 09/12/11 at 03:56 PM ET


he wont play like a top 4 d man because he’s not. why he got this huge deal is because Detroit panicked when they heard Dallas was looking into getting him. I agree signing White totally F’s up the depth chart because I’m sure a lot of people will agree that E is now the 5th D-man AND he’s not going to get PP time.

Dumb move and 100% untradeable.

I hope Im wrong, I really do.

Posted by callmedrw from detroit on 09/12/11 at 03:57 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Posted by Garth on 09/12/11 at 02:54 PM ET

I certainly agree with your points on younger players getting a chance to grow here and that Ericsson falls into this model, but it’s all about the $ and the White signing that have had me tounge-tied since July 2nd.

The two players that you and Holland cited as being market drivers for the money dolled out (Ehrhoff and Wiz) are bonafide and proven top pairing players who are entering the prime of their respective careers.  Both were given inflated deals by two teams who were desperate (trading to get negotiating rights) to fill voids on each of their rosters.  Once the afternoon of July 1 came around, the numbers for proven 2nd and 3rd pairing d-men spoke volumes:

O’Donnell - 1yr 850k
Commodore - 1yr 1m
Barker - 1yr 2.25m
Souray - 1yr 1.65m
Lilja - 2yrs 737k

Perhaps I’m missing on the key point you brought up, you alluded to the team giving Ericsson the chance to blossom by having added White and Commodore.  I’m curious to hear how this could be the case given that there are three guys ahead of Ericsson (Lids, Krons, Stuart) heading into October.  What if White outplays Ericsson as the odds dictate?  Paying Ericsson 3.25 to play the third line (let’s assume Stuart is re-signed and the Wings find a #1 to replace Lidstrom) seems like it would carry a lot of negative vibes in the lockerroom for younger guys like Kindl and Smith who may end up being more deserving a playing time next season.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 09/12/11 at 04:32 PM ET


Wisniewski’s not a top pairing guy (well, he was on the Island, but they had about the worst blueline in the league last year, plus Streit was out). He’s just a slapshot with elbows. Marc Andre Bergeron should fire his agent and hire Wisniewski’s, because Bergeron’s not worse, but can’t keep a job, let alone bank $6 million per.

Ericsson’s overpaid, for sure, but that Wisniewski contract is the new holik contract—-guy’s okay at what he does (in holik’s case obstruction, Wisniewski’s shooting hard, elbowing people and doing nothing else capably) but what each guy does generally costs $5 million per less than he’s being paid.

Posted by steviesteve on 09/12/11 at 05:21 PM ET


Uh I don’t think he gets it or maybe he just isn’t motivated to improve much.

What, he should be shrieking in panic over the extra pressure?  He was interviewed at an informal skate, what do you want from him?  He hasn’t yet felt an iota of the pressure that’s going to be on him.

Both were given inflated deals by two teams who were desperate (trading to get negotiating rights) to fill voids on each of their rosters.

You’re right, and when they were both taken off the market so early, that puts pressure on every other team that needs a defenseman.  Clearly, the brass in Detroit believe in Ericsson, and with them losing Rafalski, to let Ericsson walk would mean they need to replace a top-pairing defenseman AND fill the void of someone they feel will eventually be a top-pairing defenseman.  So the question is, do you overpay a borderline top-two defenseman to the tune of $4-$6M or do you overpay for someone you believe in to the tune of a little more than $3M?

you alluded to the team giving Ericsson the chance to blossom by having added White and Commodore.

My fault, I worded it poorly.  Detroit put pressure on Ericsson by giving him the contract and I’m sure they realized the mistake they made once the sun set on July 1st, so they went out and picked up White.  That alleviates some of the pressure on Ericsson because Detroit now has a couple options for that fourth spot.  If Ericsson plays really well and claims the fourth spot, great, but if White outperforms him and takes the spot, that’s fine too.  And even better if they both play well and allow Holland to have three 20-minute pairings

Paying Ericsson 3.25 to play the third line seems like it would carry a lot of negative vibes in the lockerroom for younger guys like Kindl and Smith who may end up being more deserving a playing time next season.

Sure, but if Ericsson doesn’t live up to his salary, then he’s a cautionary tale that Holland can use any time he has to re-sign a middle of the road young player.  Even moreso if he somehow finds his way down in GR.

It’s a mis-step, not many people are going to disagree.  But it’s one signing and it was followed by two signings (white and commodore) that could be hidden gem signings, so I don’t see how it in any way represents a change in philosophy

. Once the afternoon of July 1 came around, the numbers for proven 2nd and 3rd pairing d-men spoke volumes

You’re not wrong, but every single one of these signings was made after the Ericsson signing, so how can you compare them?  Holland could only use the signings that happened before he re-signed Ericsson, he couldn’t very well say “Well, O’Donnell is going to get $850K, so I can’t give you what you’re asking for.”

Posted by Garth on 09/12/11 at 05:22 PM ET

awould's avatar

The Ericsson deal bothers me a lot because he hasn’t earned it and because he caused me to yell at my tv a lot as I noticed that he was often lingering around Detroit’s net when a puck was in it.. Perhaps more ice time will be the difference in his development. But he benefitted greatly from the overpayments that were going on with the D during FA.

Also, Leo, calling any of those guys on that list “proven 2nd or 3rd pairing” dmen is a stretch. I doubt anyone on that list will be given any real time on the 2nd pairing. Maybe Cam Barker if he turns things around. Commodore isn’t even a 3rd liner. Out of the guys on that list, Lilja is probably the best bang for the buck, which says more about how little he’s being paid than how good he is. The Wings are definitely paying Ericsson as a solid 2nd line dman and $3.25/year is about right for that. What’s wrong is that Ericsson just isn’t 2nd line talent. Clearly they think he’ll blossom.

Assuming Lidstrom leaves in 2012, the depth on D will be:


I don’t see how adding White screwed the depth chart at all. I think it sets up very well actually, and I don’t think the White signing was any sort of reaction to overpaying Ericsson; I think it was to set up for the post-Lidstrom transition. Smith is anticipated to leap into a 2nd line spot pretty quickly, by most accounts, and that’s when Ericsson needs to really worry. The last year of Ericsson’s contract will see him competing w/ Smith for the job. After that, Ericsson will be good or he’ll be gone. I expect Kronwall to retire a Red Wing. Stuart I’m not so sure about, though I’d be happy to have him. Kindl is a big unknown to me because he’s young. I think White will work out pretty well and will be a good 2nd liner and PP guy for a long time.

Posted by awould on 09/12/11 at 05:38 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar


Posted by awould on 09/12/11 at 04:38 PM ET

And that’s a ‘worst case’ scenario.

Posted by mrfluffy from the phone, calling Detroit, telling them it's on 09/12/11 at 06:09 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

I rarely doubt Tick Tock, but on this one I’m totally lost as to wear his head was.

Maybe a big contract puts pressure on Big E to perform or else?

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 09/12/11 at 06:28 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

If his contract is so bad as to be “untradeable” and he ends up sucking huge, floppy donkey dick, waive his ass.  If someone picks him up, super.  If he goes down to Grand Rapids, super.  Either way, that $3.25m is off the books, and someone else can step in and play.

Posted by RedMenace from A Tormented Hellscape on 09/13/11 at 10:56 AM ET

RedMenace's avatar

At worst we see, what, a lineup like this:

Lidstrom - Kronwall
Stuart - White
Commodore - Kindl

Or if you want to limit Lidstrom’s minutes, just swap Lidstrom and Stuart.  Doesn’t look too bad from where I’m sitting, to be honest; some inter-changeable parts, and definitely a “defence by committee” approach.

Posted by RedMenace from A Tormented Hellscape on 09/13/11 at 10:59 AM ET

shanetx's avatar

O’Donnell - 1yr 850k
Commodore - 1yr 1m
Barker - 1yr 2.25m
Souray - 1yr 1.65m
Lilja - 2yrs 737k

I find it fascinating that anyone could consider these guys comparable to Ericsson, who played 18 minutes a night for a team that was one win away from the WCF.  Commodore couldn’t consistently play for a terrible Columbus team so he’s a reclamation project at best. Souray was such a cancerous presence that the Oilers didn’t think him worthy of a spot in the locker room, and I think we’re all aware of how pathetic that team is.  Barker was miserable in Minnesota and seems to play with the passion and intensity of your average accountant.  O’Donnell is 39 and certainly neither Nick Lidstrom or Chris Chelios when it comes to longevity, nor did he ever have a peak so high that his precipitous fall would leave him as more than a 3rd pairing guy.  Lilja is someone i have a soft spot in my heart for, but he’s a hit to the head away from forced retirement, had some terrible numbers last year in Anaheim and does not have a lot of options- he’s still persona non grata back home because of the sex scandal, so it was NHL or AHL for him.

Ericsson is young, fast, has potential offensively and defensively.  He has played fantastic in the playoffs at times and he can potentially play in any situation.  He’s not a top pairing guy.  He may not even be a second pairing guy for this team, though he would be for many around the league, but he is a decent hockey player who knows what he’s doing, has chemistry with some of the other players in the locker room, and who is at worst a known quantity who represents continuity for the probably last year of the Lidstrom era. 

Make no mistake, this team has one more shot in it’s current form, then it’s going to get ugly for a year or two unless the young guys make the leap we all hope they will despite not getting the NHL time they need to do it.  Datsyuk is, sadly, not likely to be extremely durable moving forward.  Franzen is a porcelain mule, Kronwall a fragile sledgehammer.  Zetterberg has a chronic back issue that hasn’t caused problems the last couple years, but did pretty much every year before that.  Bertuzzi and Cleary can now be considered concussion concerns, and Homer will likely be gone after this season.  It’s worth eating a slightly bad contract to reload for one more year, isn’t it?  If they make the finals, no one should be complaining that Ericsson is overpaid even if he’s sitting, then, because at some point during the season the odds are they will need him.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 09/13/11 at 02:46 PM ET


Unbelievable!  I am sick of hearing about Ericsson’s potential.  Don’t you think it’s about time he started showing some of it?!!?!? He is pretty wimpy for such a big guy and always seems to be skating in a circle away from the puck action, especially when the other team scores on his line.  I don’t understand this contract at all.  He must have something on someone pretty high up in the Red Wings organization.
Hockey Town North

Posted by Nancy Warszawski from Traverse City on 09/14/11 at 02:51 AM ET

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