Biggest disappointment of the year...not winning the Stanley Cup of course. Second biggest disappointment of the year...Ville Leino as a Red Wing. Third biggest disappointment...watching Ville Leino succeed as a Flyer. And right behind that (in my book) is our next player to grade: Jonathan Ericsson.
Now, don't get me wrong, we probably shouldn't be expecting too much from a guy who was taken in the now non-existent 9th round of the draft. We took him as a forward and converted him to defenseman. But then something strange happened...The "Big Rig" started to thrive at the AHL level. He was an all-star defenseman who won the hardest shot competition....he was from Sweden and of course had the extra 'S' in his last name...sounds like a winner right?
...yeah that's a whopping -15 rating, worst on the team. But again, perhaps were expecting too much too soon for the hulking Swede (he was Mr. Irrelevant, afterall in the 2002 entry draft).
The kid is still only 26 years old and hopefully has better days ahead of him. I'm thinking that we were so disappointed in his performance this year (we actually assigned Andreas Lilja as his personal on-ice babysitter) because of how well he did in last year's play-off. In 2008-2009 he was selected as the Red Wings' rookie of the year. This wasn't because he achieved 4 points in 19 games, but because of what he did in the play-offs...
Not mentioned is the fact that he tossed around my least favorite player in the NHL...Corey Perry. In the 2009 Play-offs, Ericsson had a few chances to play with Lidstrom and he looked like he was ready for prime time. Everybody was hopping aboard the Big Rig Bandwagon. I remember one reporter saying that Ericsson would be an NHL All-Star in just a few short years.
Then this year happened. With Detroit being so stricken with injuries, we were hoping the young guns like Johnny Ericsson would help lift us up...he didn't. We leaned on him and he pretty much crumbled. He consistently gave the puck away in our end, and it almost always seemed to end up in the back of our net. Four goals in 22 games played against the best of the best in '09 play-offs, four goals in 69 games played against teams like the Islanders and the Oilers...something isn't right.
This year was a huge dissapointment for Ericsson. I hope that he feels the same way, and works his butt off this summer to prove that last year was just a fluke.
My expectations: 5 G 20 A 25 Pts
What we got: 4 G 9 A 13 Pts
Perhaps I was a little ambitious...but wasn't everyone else?
Final Grade: D