This is likely the last time I write about Jonathan Ericsson unless I’m writing an article about Detroit Red Wings prospects who failed to reach their full potential. I don’t mean his draft potential; I mean, once he became established in the organization. Ericsson was drafted in the 9th round of the 2002 NHL Draft. The draft doesn’t even have that many rounds anymore. He’s more than outplayed his draft position.
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When Ericsson joined the Detroit Red Wings, he was expected to provide a physical presence on the backend playing paired with countryman Niklas Kronwall. Oddly enough, it was the smaller Kronwall that provided the thunder on the backend with his enormous, decapitating, headhunting clean hits.
Ericsson wasn’t horrible early on, we as fans just forget that understanding how much potential he had upon entering the NHL. Don’t forget Ericsson represented Team Sweden at the Olympics, and not as an extra he played with Kronwall as the team’s first pairing defenders. Sure, part of that was their familiarity with one another, but the country certainly felt Ericsson belonged.
Big-E, as they call him in Detroit, played back to back seasons averaging over 21 minutes per night paired with Kronwall. After three years of playing as a plus defender, North of 20 TOI per night, with plenty of chemistry with Kronwall, Holland awarded the 6’4 defender with a six-year deal that averages $4.25 million per season. That contract finally expires at the end of this season. Yes, it also contained a ‘Holland-special’ no-trade clause.
Holland handed out more no-trade clauses than Oprah gave away cars. If you walked by his office at the right time, it seemed like you got a lengthy contract extension along with a no-trade clause.
This season Ericsson has played a career-low 14:15 TOI per night in just 18 games. He’s been placed on waivers and sent down to Grand Rapids multiple times and recalled when injuries have occurred. His career 50.5 Corsi For Percentage will probably surprise many of you, but don’t forget how good the Wings were during the first half of his career. This season his CF% is a lackluster 42.7. This has been Ericsson’s last call; the bar is closing.