Sept 10, 2016
The Vancouver Canucks have yet to play a game of any kind this season.
But the trio of Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Loui Eriksson, who have played together at previous international events, should provide the Canucks with at least some excitement, especially for the power play, as training camp approaches.
The Canucks, in need of goal scoring and improvement to their power play, signed Eriksson to a six-year, $36 million contract on the first day of free agency. The plan, it’s expected, is for the left-shooting Eriksson to play on the top line with the Sedin twins.
(Mind you, Radim Vrbata was brought in as a free agent signing two years ago for the same reason, but he was eventually moved off that line.)
So far in the World Cup of Hockey pre-tournament games, the trio has been productive for Sweden, albeit in a small sample size as far as this competition goes.
Eriksson scored twice in Saturday’s game against Finland, as Sweden earned a 6-3 win over their neighboring rivals. Henrik Sedin assisted on both goals and Daniel Sedin had a helper as well. Both Eriksson goals came on the power play, including a five-on-three.
In both cases, Eriksson, who now has three goals in two pre-tournament games, was stationed in front of the net, and the Sedins — Henrik on the first goal and Daniel on the second — set him up.
“They are such smart players,” said Eriksson, as per NHL.com in July.
“It was easy for me when I first played with them to get chemistry because we kind of play the same way. We like to give the puck and get it back from each other. Maybe the first couple games was a learning process to see how they played and how they were thinking, and we seemed to match really well when we played together in those games, especially in the 2013 World Championships when we won it. … Hopefully we can keep playing like we did during that time and we should have some good success.”
The Sedin twins will turn 36 years old later this month. They have two more years remaining on their respective contracts. Eriksson, who has twice hit 30-plus goals in a single season, including last season in Boston, is 31 years old. They’re not getting any younger.
But the Canucks were dismal when it came to overall goal scoring (29th in the NHL) and power play (27th in the NHL). They also acquired and signed defenseman Philip Larsen with the idea of giving him the opportunity to run the power play from the back end.
So far, so good for the Sedin twins and Eriksson in the World Cup. If that can translate into the NHL regular season, the Canucks should at the very least improve their power play. The Canucks certainly need it.
Whether the Canucks, as an entire team, will be good enough to make it back to the playoffs is another story for another day.