Benning shares thoughts on draft, Eriksson trade rumors
Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning said Monday he will speak with Loui Eriksson this week to address the comments he made earlier this off-season to a Swedish news outlet.
Benning was asked Monday whether Eriksson may need a fresh start after three seasons in Vancouver, and the general manager did not rule out the possibility.
"I'm going to talk to Loui this week and get his thoughts on everything and why he made the comments he did, but that could be something that's real," Benning said.
Eriksson told HockeySverige in early May that there was friction in his relationship with head coach Travis Green, and cited that as a reason for his diminished offensive output since joining the Canucks.
“The coach and I don’t really get on 100 per cent,” Eriksson told the Swedish outlet, as translated by the Vancouver Province. “It is difficult when I do not get the same trust that I received from all the other coaches I had during my career. Of course it is tough on that front.”
Eriksson has scored a total of 31 goals in three seasons since joining the Canucks after scoring 30 with the Boston Bruins in 2015-16. He has spent the past two seasons under Green, and averaged just 14:04 of ice time last season - his lowest mark since the 2007-08 season with the Dallas Stars.
The 33-year-old has three seasons at a $6 million cap hit remaining on a six-year contract he signed with the Canucks as a free agent in 2016. TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reported last week that the Edmonton Oilers could be a trade partner for the Canucks in exchange for Milan Lucic, though the Oilers would likely have to throw in a "sweetener" since Lucic is signed for more one year than Eriksson at the same cap hit.
Eriksson was healthy for the full season for the first time since joining the Canucks this year, but sat out one game in March as a healthy scratch. He finished with 11 goals and 29 points in 81 games with a minus-11 rating. A six-time 20-goal scorer with two 30-goal seasons under his belt, Eriksson said in May he's been placed in a more defensive role under Green, limiting his ability to produce offensively.
"Last two seasons I have played less and in a defensive role," Eriksson said, via Google Translate. "I also cannot make the same points as [I did] before if I do not play so much in the roles I had before. In this way, it is not really possible to compare, but I must do my best and fight on."
"Of course it is boring for that part," he added of the defensive role with decreased ice time.
Eriksson, who scored one goal and posted four points at the world hockey championship last month, said at the time he was ignoring speculation that he could be bought out this off-season.
"People can say what they want and it can spread quite quickly," Eriksson said. "As it looks now, I will play in Vancouver next season as well, but you never know what can happen. We'll see what happens after the summer."