News came out during that snoozefest of a hockey game Tuesday night that gives reason for optimism. Bob McKenzie of TSN reported on Twitter that the Wings and Jonathan Ericsson are close to coming to terms on a contract extension. The extension is said to be 4-5 years and about $4 million a year.
An extension like this lets fans breath a huge sigh of relief. Looking at who’s due to become a free agent this summer, Ericsson is really the only player that absolutely HAS to come back. Quincy is the other defenseman who’s term is coming to an end, and forwards Sammuelsson, Alfredsson, Bertuzzi and Cleary will be available as well. Given that Ericsson is getting a well-deserved raise, you have to believe some of those forwards won’t be coming back and some of their cap hit is going to Ericsson.
Ericsson was making $3.25 million this year and you have to believe that as rare as quality defensemen are, he would have been due to make ALOT more on the open market. His four points in 11 games this year don’t tell the entire story, as he’s been a solid #2 defenseman and the team has looked considerably different without him.
Ericsson wanting to stay in Detroit is a bright spot on a team that could really use something to smile about here lately. The Wings may not be trying to make cap room to bring in free agents so much as they’ll be making room for call-ups next year. Keeping Ericsson at such a reasonable cap hit gives you some hope though, as letting Samuelsson walk will free up $3 million in cap space. With less than a million of that now going to Ericsson, there’s room on the roster for Gustav Nyquist to have a permanent position on the Wings and then some.
Stay tuned for the final details on Ericsson’s extension!