Jonathan Ericsson receives plenty of undeserved criticism every season, but recently his play has been sub-par and it is hurting the Detroit Red Wings.
Since being paired with Niklas Kronwall on the Red Wings’ top defensive pairing, Jonathan Ericsson has been a steady defensive force in the Wings’ zone and was rewarded with a long-term deal to keep him in Detroit.
Unfortunately, Jonathan Ericssons’s play has dropped off significantly since returning from the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
In the seven games following the Winter Olympics, Ericsson has been credited with three giveaways and is a minus six, but that is not the whole story for the 6’5″ defenseman.
It seems that Ericsson’s hockey sense is betraying him lately and that is leading him to take the body rather than the puck in certain situation and pass puck directly to the opposition players in the slot.
Against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Jonathan Ericsson lost positioning on Nick Foligno and rather than finding the puck to clear it out of the zone, Ericsson went for the take down in front of the net, which led to the puck bouncing away from Petr Mrazek and onto Foligno’s outstretched stick.
Sadly, that was not the only mistake Ericsson made against the Blue Jackets; Jonathan Ericsson was on the ice for all four goals against makes critical mistakes in each situation and early in the game he sent an errant pass to the center of the ice, which was picked off, but Mrazek bailed him out.
Jimmy Howard has been forced to bail Jonathan Ericsson out on multiple occasions, as well, due to errant passes and Ericsson turning the puck over deep in the Red Wings zone since the break.
Ericsson has been sub-par enough that Mike Babcock has routinely dropped him down to the second defensive pairing at times during games and then brought him back up later in the game in hope that he will play better.
It seems that the short time Jonathan Ericsson spent on the bigger ice surface in Sochi has caused him to think he has more time and more room on the ice than he actually does in the NHL.
Ericsson has hit a major rough patch this season and for the team’s sake he needs to pull himself out of it as soon as possible because the Red Wings need him at the top of his game if they are going to make the playoffs.