Putting the Ericsson Signing in Perspective

I know that the re-signing by the Detroit Red Wings of defenseman Jonathon Ericsson has left many people scratching their heads or searching for their bottle of cyanide pills (Kyle), but it actually makes sense in how the organization operates.

Lets start off by looking at the contracts & cap hits of current Red Wing defensemen:






Cap Hit
Contract Length
Year Signed
% of Cap
Lidstrom $6.25M 1 2011 9.72%
*Rafalski $6.00M 5 2007 11.92%
Stuart $3.75M 4 2008 6.61%
Ericsson $3.25M 3 2011 5.05%
Kronwall $3.00M 5 2007 5.96%
Kindl $0.88M 3 2010 1.49%
* Retired, but included as he was under contract for 2011-12

The percentage shown above reflects the players' cap hit as a percent of the salary cap in the first season of the contract.

If we put the current cap hits in the context of when they were signed using this percentage, the argument could be made that Ericsson's deal is fair when inflation due to the salary cap is factored in.  For comparison, Kronwall's role on the team was that of a 2nd pairing defenseman and was 3rd or 4th on the depth chart.  Stuart is in a similar position as Kronner, but plays more of a defensive game.  At the time of Stuarts signing there were people that questioned a $3.75M cap hit for "just" a defensive defenseman.  I'd argue that Ericsson could fill a similar role to Kronwall or Stuart as he progresses.

If you look at the forwards, the $3M per season cap hit for Valteri Filppula was also questioned at the time it was signed.  The organization made a calculated risk/reward analysis while projecting what type of player Flip would be in the latter years of that contract and his value to the team.  They show tremendous loyalty to their prospects and respect the judgement of their coaches and scouting staff in projecting what a given players' upside may be.  This process can turn out to be as much of a crap shoot as the entry draft, but with potentially much larger consequences - at least with respect to the salary cap.

Interesting Facts:

  • Flip actually had a greater cap hit than Zetterberg & Dan Cleary for the 2008-09 season, even though his salary was lower.

  • Kronwall's actual salary is $3.75M for this season, even though his cap hit is less than Ericsson's.

So, let's try to keep this all in perspective during the holiday that is the opening of NHL free agency.


Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

Thing is Filppula has talent. Ericsson has not proved anything to earn that type of money. I cried myself to sleep last night!

Chuck Gaston Jr's picture

I shed a tear for you. I can't beleive they caved. I can honestly say, if there was a single GM that would not go into "panic" mode in day 1 of free agency it would be Holland, but he went into panic mode. They should be fine though, its the red wings.