Contract: 2016-17 will be the third year of a six year contract worth $25.5 million, with an average cap hit of $4.25 million
2015-16 regular season stats: 71 games, three goals, 12 assists, 56 penalty minutes, +2 rating
2015-16 playoff stats: Five games, one assist, two penalty minutes
Career regular season stats: 478 games, 20 goals, 78 assists, 386 penalty minutes, +10 rating
Career playoff stats: 76 games, five goals, 16 assists, 55 assists
After a 2015-16 season that was most definitely not his best, Ericsson’s role with the team in the upcoming season is a bit of an unknown. Obviously, the team would like to be able to rely on a player who makes $4.25 million a season in a big way, but Ericsson has proven time and time again that he is not capable of answering the call. Questionable turnovers (led the team in giveaways last season with 61), a lack of physical play despite his 6-foot-4 frame, and a distinct lack of intensity continue to mar his play.
Even with a distinct lack of top quality defensemen in Detroit, it’s hard to imagine an expanded role for Ericsson, who is entering his 10th year in the NHL. He will not see much time against the top lines of opponents, as he struggles in coverage.
One area where Ericsson is a solid regular contributor is on the penalty kill, where he averaged 2:37 per game last season, and will likely see plenty of time again this season.
Not a big time contributor on offense, it’s hard to imagine Ericsson’s offensive numbers jumping any more than they have in recent seasons. His career high in goals (four) was set in 2009-10, but he has matched a career high in points (15) in each of the past two seasons.
Biggest Question: Can Ericsson find a way to cut down on turnovers and be more of an asset than a liability?