BOSTON — All season, it was posed as a question with two possible answers: Will the Bruins sign Loui Eriksson, or will they trade him? In the end, they did neither.
Despite having not reached an agreement on a contract extension, Eriksson was not dealt before Monday afternoon’s NHL trade deadline, with Boston instead opting to keep its talented two-way forward for what it hopes will be a lengthy playoff run.
“In all honesty, I certainly had evaluated over the course of months, really, as to whether or not Loui was going to be signed before the deadline,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said in his post-deadline news conference. “We’ve been in contract negotiations; we’ll continue to talk with Loui and his group. I’ve always valued the type of player that Loui is. The season he’s having I think is important for where our club is, and if the deal wasn’t going to be right, we were going to maintain our position.
“If you look around the league I don’t think any team currently in a playoff position traded a player of Loui’s magnitude, and — correct me if I’m wrong — I think one first-rounder was exchanged. So, the deal had to be right. It has to be right for this organization for me to do that. That’s what I’ve been entrusted to do, and I’m going to continue to do that.”
Sweeney, who declined to discuss specifics of the proposals he did hear, went on to explain that the Bruins and Eriksson’s camp simply could not agree on the details of a deal that would keep the winger in Boston beyond this season. They will continue to negotiate in the months leading up to July 1, when Eriksson is set to hit unrestricted free agency, but Sweeney admitted the sides did not make significant headway on deadline day.
“The simple answer is no, we did not (close the gap in negotiations),” the GM said. “I don’t know if we spent a lot of time trying to close the gap as of (Monday). I think I knew their position, and they certainly know where ours has been, and it was about whether or not something might present itself. But I also indicated our preference all along was to remain the type of team that’s competitive in a playoff run, and Loui’s a big part of that.
“But again, I’ll always do what’s right for the organization. If it had been presented as such then we would have evaluated, and maybe have done something. But I think it does indicate to Loui how much we do value him.”
In addition to keeping Eriksson, the Bruins also pulled off two trades Monday, acquiring defenseman John-Michael Liles from the Carolina Hurricanes and forward Lee Stempniak from the New Jersey Devils.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports Images
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