Ericsson

 

Every Wednesday this summer, I will bring you a sleeper to watch for the 2009-10 season (and potentially beyond). Released in no particular order, I will refrain from picking sleepers that have already shown glimpses of breaking out in the past – the obvious candidates. Time to go beneath the surface for a couple of sleepers from the Detroit Red Wings…

 

 

Both Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski have multiple seasons left in their respective gas tanks. Lidstrom recently told the Detroit Free Press that neither the KHL nor the Eliteserien in Sweden interest him – the NHL will be the only league he will ever play his hockey in. He has only one year left on his current deal, but expect a one or two-year extension to be signed at some point over the course of the 2009-10 season. Rafalski is still under contract for three more seasons. However, with the recent departures of Marian Hossa, Jiri Hudler, and Mikael Samuelsson, Detroit will need to make up a lot of offense, especially on the power play. Samuelsson, in particular, was an important part of the second power play unit, where he often played the point. He got a lot of criticism for taking low percentage shots and forcing plays at times, but Detroit liked what he brought to their power play. Niklas Kronwall broke the 50-point barrier for the first time in his career as well, but after those three, there wasn’t much in the way of offense on Detroit’s blue line. There are two young defensemen coming up in the Detroit system to keep an eye on from a fantasy standpoint.

 

Jonathan Ericsson is another in a long line of fantastic draft picks by Detroit. Hakan Andersson, Detroit’s Swedish scout, noticed a big, talented center playing for a junior Swedish team, and convinced him to make the move back to defense. Detroit took him with their 9th round pick in 2002, and the rest is history. He was very solid in the 2009 Playoffs, and the Red Wings believe that he possesses top-four upside. His ice time went up dramatically in the playoffs, as he was forced to step up and fill in when injuries hit. He averaged just over 17 minutes per game in 19 regular season games, but saw his ice time jump to over 20 minutes against both Anaheim and Chicago. He has an absolute cannon from the point as well, so expect him to put up healthy goal totals throughout his career. 30 points would be a realistic number to expect for Ericsson in 2009-10. Anything more than that would depend on injuries to defensemen ahead of him on the depth chart, as well as power play time. At this point, the die-hard fantasy hockey fan is well aware of Ericsson and what he brings, but he still may fly below the radar in many leagues for his lack of production to date.

 

Drafted back in the first round of the 2005 Draft, Jakub Kindl has yet to suit up for the Red Wings. He played two more seasons with Kitchener after being drafted, and then moved on to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL, where he played in both 2007-08 and 2008-09. He will finally suit up for the Red Wings in 2009-10, but it remains to be seen for how many games. He probably isn’t ready for full-time duty just yet, and there may not be a roster spot for him either, unless he pushes some defensemen down the depth chart. He is very sound defensively, and has also shown flashes of offense with both Kitchener (58 points in 2005-06) and Grand Rapids (33 points last season). Look for him to play 40-50 games this season for the Wings, and become a full-time roster player for the 2010-11 season. His fantasy value is a bit of a question mark, as it is with most young defensemen who have yet to play in the NHL. Look for him to develop into a sound, two-way defensemen capable of scoring 25-35 points on a regular basis.

 

 


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bluejays said:

bluejays
... I like Kindl quite a bit too Angus. Sentium continues to rag on people on the site that don't share his opinions.
August 23, 2009
Votes: +0

Ron` said:

Ron`
... Back to Ericsson, quality guy ready in a quality system. Easy pick to fill your blueline out with upside. He performed well in the playoffs from what I saw and imo. The future is up to you're prognosis of course, he's no replacement for Nick, but he's likely a fixture for years to come. Hence a good 5th or 6th pick imo in a keeper league.
August 20, 2009
Votes: +0

sentium said:

Dakkster
... Oh it's most definitely a good thing to give poolies a heads up about Kindl. After all, he's getting closer after a pretty long wait. It's just that we'll have to wait just a little bit more for him smilies/smiley.gif Sorry if I offended you with the ignorant thing, but over here it's just not such a loaded thing to say smilies/smiley.gif
August 20, 2009
Votes: -1

angus said:

angus
... No worries, sent. I always appreciate feedback and you may indeed be more in tune with the Wings situation than me. I have a few contacts in DET and Grand Rapids who think Kindl is pretty close, due to his sound defensive play (especially on such a thin and porous defense like GR). It doesn't sound like Lilja will be back any time soon, and Lebda is limited in what he brings. And Babcock has never been a fan of Meech and always seems hesitant to play him.

Even if Kindl does see 10 games or something, I figure its good to get his name out so poolies can get him on their radar(s). I'm sure a lot of the Dobber readers that are not quite as hard core as us vets appreciate an advance on a promising young player.

I just take a bit of offense to being called "ignorant" about hockey, that's all. I'm definitely ignorant about a lot of things, but hockey isn't one of them! smilies/smiley.gif
August 20, 2009
Votes: +0

arlo said:

arlo
... Yeah you all know Ken Holland's policy is to take it slow with the prospects and make sure they are overly-ready before they hit the NHL. You know it, but you gotta really BELIEVE it. That particularly applies to defensemen. And because Kindl gets shell-shocked whenever he enters a new level of competition (only 14 regular-season points and zero playoff points in his first OHL season... a +/- of -34 in his first AHL season - twice as bad as anybody else on the team), Holland is going to want Kindl to be even more overly-prepared for the NHL than usual. He must know Kindl is going to be shell-shocked when he enters the NHL, so he'll want to minimize that as best he can. A third full season in the AHL for Kindl (2009-2010) is a guarantee. And if Holland can keep him there longer than that without waiver issues or risks of losing him to Europe, then he will. If Kindl had some dimension to his game that Detroit's blueline was lacking (offense, physicality) then Holland might rush Kindl along. But with Lidstrom, Rafalski and Kronwall covering the offensive, and Ericsson, Stuart and Kronwall providing the physicality... Detroit's blueline lacks nothing for the next few years. No reason to rush Kindl.
August 20, 2009
Votes: +0

sentium said:

Dakkster
... And yes, Kindl getting 40-50 games is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay beyond what Mason could've been expected to play last year. Kindl is nowhere near Mason in terms of ability or NHL readiness and besides, he has a lot more bodies to compete with, even if someone in the top six would go down to injury. It's just not the Detroit way. If Kindl were to move to some other team, like Quincey, then yeah, I would certainly not put it past him to get in 50+ games. But in Detroit... just no. That's not how they do it.
August 20, 2009
Votes: +0

sentium said:

Dakkster
... I just call it as I see it, Dobber. Uninformed, ignorant, blind optimism, whatever word or expression you use, I think it applies here and I think it's only fair to give people a heads up that 40-50 games is pretty much beyond unrealistic.

That's actually one of the most interesting things I've come across when talking to/among North Americans, this vehement reluctance to have the word ignorant slapped on you. We're not that uptight about it here in Scandinavia. If someone calls us out, we've been corrected and that's that. It's not the end of the world to have a deficiency in your knowledge pointed out, ESPECIALLY not on an information sharing site like this where information accuracy is key. Ignorant is simply the accurate word here. What you call "taking a stand" I call ignorant and possibly even sensationalistic and I DON'T mean it as some sort of insult. If I were to put my chin out on a prediction for Kindl this year I'd say 20-30 games. That's an extreme prediction in my eyes, waaay beyond the probable couple of games he'll likely get.

Like I said, fans giving their opinions on postings regarding their respective teams is one of the absolute strongest points of this community. I love it when fans of the 29 other teams I don't follow as religiously as I follow Detroit chime in to either correct stuff or tone down too optimistic expectations. The wealth of knowledge shared by everyone is such pure gold. I'll keep posting my opinions on the Wings whenever I think that I can offer something just as I expect guys like Lanky to chime in on anything Washington related.
August 20, 2009
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
... I think nobody expected Steve Mason to play a single game last year. That's what "sleeper" is all about. I'm pretty certain we won't see Kindl at all this year - but Jeff sees it, so kudos to him for taking a stand. Those 1 or 2 out of a million people who predicted Mason would get in a ton of games last year looked like geniuses, and Angus will too if this pans out. But "sleeper" means "not likely, but could".
What happens if Lidstrom gets hurt? Is that all it would take to see Kindl play 50 games?
And Sentium - people need to be able to speak about the Red Wings without a highly respected and well-known community name calling them on it. Please? Insight from you is valued, and discussion is encouraged, but you can be a little rough, even if you stick the word "borderline" in front. smilies/grin.gif
Shoeless - only DobberHockey readers really see good things from him, I don't think Ericsson gets enough hype anywhere outside of Detroit!smilies/cool.gif
August 19, 2009
Votes: +0

sentium said:

Dakkster
... Borderline ignorant, man smilies/smiley.gif Not all the way, balls to the wall ignorant smilies/smiley.gif

Seriously though. Any Wings fan worth a lick would tell you within ten seconds that Kindl won't get any NHL icetime worth mentioning this year. Sure, I get that we want to be optimistic about prospects and all that, but I prefer the articles to be at least a little realistic. 40-50 games is just not feasible at all for Kindl this year. Well, unless the top four outright dies or something, of course, but that's not feasible either smilies/smiley.gif

I'm sure most fans of their respective teams twitch a bit when unrealistic stuff is posted in the articles and posts here. Then again, that's what I like about it. If inaccurate stuff is posted, there is mostly someone around who can set the record straight.
August 19, 2009
Votes: +0

angus said:

August 19, 2009
Votes: +0

sentium said:

Dakkster
... There is not a snowball's chance in hell that Kindl plays even 20 games this year with the Wings. He is not better than Lebda defensively or Meech at this stage, so those reasons are voided. And even so, they don't have cap room for him now. Trust me, as a die hard and very in-the-know Detroit fan, Kindl will at most get a handful of games as a cup of coffee this year. At the very most.

Sometimes the borderline ignorant posts/articles hyping guys get a bit annoying here.
August 19, 2009
Votes: +0

angus said:

angus
... It actually features Ericsson AND Kindl. smilies/smiley.gif

As I said in the article... "At this point, the die-hard fantasy hockey fan is well aware of Ericsson and what he brings, but he still may fly below the radar in many leagues for his lack of production to date."
August 19, 2009
Votes: +0

Shoeless said:

Shoeless
... Ericsson? A sleeper? I think everyone and their dog expects 30 from him.
August 19, 2009
Votes: +0

angus said:

angus
... His plus-minus was due to the fact he was on a horrible defensive club. After Ericsson was called up, it was essentially Kindl, Garrett Stafford, and four plugs.

40-50 may be optimistic, for sure. I based it on a few things:

- Lilja's injury
- Lebda's poor defensive play
- Babcock's lack of trust in Meech
August 19, 2009
Votes: +0

arlo said:

arlo
Kindl No way Kindl plays 40-50 games for the Wings. It'll take multiple injuries for him to get more than a 2-5 game taster this year. He's slow to get acclimated to each level, the Wings know he'll get smoked early on in the NHL. He's not done progressing in the AHL as far as they're concerned. 2nd-worst plus-minus on the Griffins last year. He won't get that 40-game NHL season until the 2010-11 season, best case scenario.
August 19, 2009
Votes: +1
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