BOSTON — Bruins general manager Don Sweeney confirmed Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours before the NHL’s trade deadline, that the team and winger Loui Eriksson had yet to agree to terms on a contract extension.
“As I said earlier (Saturday), we’ve made offers to Loui and haven’t been able to find a deal at this point in time,” Sweeney said in his pre-deadline meeting with reporters at TD Garden. “So, sort of status quo on that front. …
“There have been ongoing discussions. Certainly, they have their position and we have ours, and we’d like to find a deal. But it hasn’t happened to this point, and you guys know me well enough now that I’m not one to be disclosing where those parameters lie.”
Following Andrew Ladd’s trade from the Winnipeg Jets to the Chicago Blackhawks, Eriksson is the most highly touted winger on the trade market. The 30-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent this July, and while Sweeney maintained he’d prefer to re-sign Eriksson rather than deal him, the GM did say he has engaged a number of teams in trade talks.
“Loui’s a great player,” Sweeney said. “He’s having a great season. He’s very important for our success up to date, and we treat it as such. If another team — and I’ve had several discussions with teams — felt that that was equal on that side of it and the deal was the right fit, then that’s something that we’d explore. But my preference has been all along to try to sign him and go from there.”
If the Bruins and Eriksson can’t come to terms on a new deal before Monday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline, Sweeney said he does not believe trading the winger would be a necessity. Sweeney can envision a scenario in which the team keeps an unsigned Eriksson, continuing to negotiate as Boston makes its final push toward the playoffs.
“Absolutely,” Sweeney said. “… Loui’s an impactful player on our hockey club, and I would have continuing negotiations with him as such.”
Eriksson will be in the lineup Sunday night as the Bruins host the Tampa Bay Lightning, Sweeney confirmed. Eriksson has yet to miss a game this season and is tied for second on the team in both goals (23) and points (48).
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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