For under 1.25, he's a great 5-6 DMan. For 2-3.5mil, he's a terrible 4-6 DMan.
And for 1.25-1.75, he's a #5/6 d-man at a reasonable price if we can't find anything better for the role.
In my opinion, Ericsson still has some room to grow: he's a later bloomer, he's a large guy, and he's a d-man. All of this could equate to a player that doesn't hit his prime until 30. If everything comes together for him, he could be a respectable #4.
The biggest issue currently is a matter of where to put him. He's solid defensively when he's not consistently the last line of defense, so you can't put him with a risk-taker. Likewise, he needs someone reliable to let him jump up for his offense. At the same time, his partner has to be reasonably reliable offensively to carry the pairing during a slump.
This makes a guy with balanced offense and defense like Lidstrom a perfect partner for him, but it just so happens our guy like that isf****** amazing and our #1 d-man. Ericsson is not top pairing qualtiy at this time. Lidstrom is the only guy we've really had like that (Kronwall is more offensively oriented; his offense from jumping into the play is lethal, making a defensively-oriented partner ideal for him. Stuart doesn't have the offense. Rafalski wasn't reliable defensively. Salei definitely didn't have the offense).
Hpwever, if the Wings can acquire a d-man to play on the right side of Kronwall that's of sufficient quality, that may be different this next year. I think the Wings are looking at a point where Lidstrom's numbers can be toned back, and likewise Kronwall can take on more responsibilities. They can share a 1a/1b role when it comes to overall minutes. Kronwall's partner can be someone that logs #3 minutes. Stuart can anchor the bottom pairing, providing a steady partner for Kindl, even while he gets double shifted on defensive minutes and eats crazy PK time to give him similar #3 minutes. This leaves Ericsson as a solid choice for Lidstrom's partner, and it just so happens that's the style of d-man Ericsson needs to play next to.
Pairings (sorted descending by ES icetime as a pairing)
Kronwall | ????
Lidstrom | Ericsson
Stuart | Kindl
PK icetime (descending)
If the right person can be acquired to fill "????" I'm quite fine with that arrangement. If he cannot, or if Ericsson cannot be had for a reasonable contract, I would prefer 2 new acquistions, both of 2nd pairing (or better) quality.
Edited by Datsyerberger, 31 May 2011 - 03:34 AM.
If some bored artist wants to make me a signature, feel free to cut loose and do so.
Of course, I could get off my lame rear and do something.