Loui Eriksson makes his return to Dallas tonight after spending the first 501 games of his career with the Stars.
I thought his comments to the Dallas Morning News about his return were both refreshing and enlightening: “I kind of figured I would play with Dallas all of my life. But things happen and you make the most of them. I’m happy with this team and I’m excited about the future, but I still want the Stars to do well.”
Eriksson may not have said that last part if the Stars played in the same conference as the Boston Bruins, but full marks to him for his honesty.
We’re now six months and half a season removed from the blockbuster seven-player trade between the Bruins and Stars. I’m interested in whether fans think Dallas or Boston got the better of the trade. Here’s what was involved.
Tyler Seguin. It’s commonly said the team receiving the best player in a multi-player deal wins the trade. Seguin’s easily the best player in this trade. He’s had four games of four or more points and been among the top 20 point-getters most of the season. He a member of Team Canada’s hypothetical all-snub squad for the Olympics and at 21 will be a star in the NHL for a long time.
Rich Peverley. At 31, Peverley is more suited to a bottom-six role with the Stars than the 20-goal, 50-point pace he clocked a few times earlier in his career. But he is productive as third- and fourth-liners go and very strong on faceoffs.
Ryan Button. The 22-year-old defender probably won’t ever play above the AHL.
Loui Eriksson. He has missed 20 games with a pair of concussions so Bruins fans have yet to see the true talent that averaged close to 30 goals and 70 points for four consecutive seasons in Dallas. With just five goals and 15 points in 26 games, Eriksson has been back for just two outings since a 15-game layoff. He’s 28 so there’s time for him provide good return.
Reilly Smith. The dark horse in this trade has flourished in Boston scoring 15 goals and 33 points in 46 games on the second line. The 22-year-old has slowed lately with just one goal and three points in his past eight games. But it’s safe to say the Bruins got a top-six forward when they were probably just expecting a bottom-six role player.
Joe Morrow. Pittsburgh’s first-rounder from 2011 had a slow start to his pro career, sometimes being a healthy scratch in the AHL last season. He’s making strides in Providence and is bound to get an NHL test soon. With Zdeno Chara turning 37 soon and Dennis Seidenberg 33 in July, the Bruins are counting on Morrow, 21, to eventually spell them.
Matt Fraser. The 23-year-old left winger is now in Providence and has a knack for scoring goals. He has 86 of them to go along with just 36 assists in three AHL seasons. He’s been up for 27 NHL games, 14 of them with Boston this year.
Verdict: Even with Smith playing so well, Dallas is the winner in the short term. If Eriksson bounces back well and Morrow progresses to the NHL, the Bruins can turn the table in the coming years. A decade from now, it’s likely the unbiased hockey fan will say the Stars won in the big picture.
Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN