The Ericsson Solution
Everyone that reads my stuff knows of my need to vent about Jonathan Ericsson. Just look down all of the columns I've ever written and you'll find some. I'm not going to reiterate why I dislike him (basically he's 27 making $3.25 million a year to score one goal and play on the third pair as a fringe defenceman/make amazingly bad decisions with the puck from time to time/always). Instead, I want to offer my solution of what I would do with him.
Ericsson is out with a broken wrist for a few weeks, and with any luck I won't have to sit through the Capitals game at the Joe and hold my breath every time he touches the puck; he'll probably still be out.
Not because of his talent level
There is one thing that a lot of Red Wings fans probably don't know about "Big E" though. Drafted in the 9th round, 291st overall of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Ericsson was originally a forward. A centerman, actually.
"Ericsson began his playing career as a center, playing all but one game of the 2001–2002 season at the position for Hasten's junior team. However, when playing one game on defense, Detroit Red Wings scout Håkan Andersson watched the game and convinced Ericsson to become a permanent defenseman. Detroit then drafted him that summer."
For a second there I didn't like Hakan Andersson.
Perhaps Ericsson was playing against a weak opponent and somehow looked good.
All of the blame should be on Andersson for using such a small sample of his play to convince him to play defence!
So here's a crazy thought; since I think he's a subpar, AHL defenceman and you're paying him anyway, try him on forward. If Sergei Fedorov could play defence, Ericsson can play forward. With seven other defenceman in the line-up (Lidstrom, White, Kronwall, Stuart, Quincey, Kindl, Smith), something's got to give. In my mind, Detroit would be stupid to send Smith back down or bury him in the press box, which is exactly what will happen. He'll play in Grand Rapids when he could help the team now. For his development? Fine. For the team's needs? Not so much.
In all likelihood it will be Ericsson with Quincey and Kindl in the stands. I'd like to see Ericsson up front for a few games. Maybe that's his natural position and Detroit for some reason thinks he's Lidstrom's replacement.
Thinking ahead to next year, with Lidstrom possibly retiring and Stuart all but certain leaving Detroit, Smith will be in the line-up full time and they will try and sign a big name free agent, possibly Ryan Suter. Guess what? Ericsson will STILL be on the third pair. So for all of that "potential" people talk about, it'll still be rotting as you're sixth defenceman, and $3.25 million in cap space with it.
His brother Jimmie is a left winger and the same size. Maybe we can try him on defence as a last resort.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for a chance to win a Nicklas Lidstrom jersey at 500 combined followers. We are currently at 325, over halfway there!