Jonathan Ericsson
Jonathan Ericsson
35-Year-Old DefensemanD
Detroit Red Wings
2019 Fantasy Outlook
A true stay-at-home defenseman, Ericsson registered only three goals and two assists against a minus-10 rating in his 12th NHL season with the Red Wings. The career-low offensive pace over 52 games can partially be attributed to a lower-body injury that shelved the veteran for most of March, but Ericsson -- who is cashing out the balance of a bloated six-year $4.25 million contract -- will be hard-pressed to wind up in the "Yzerplan," which affectionately refers to the direction Steve Yzerman will be taking as the successor to long-time Wings GM Ken Holland. There's nothing in Ericsson's profile to suggest that he'll be a viable fantasy option, even in a contract year. Read Past Outlooks
$Re-signed with the Red Wings on a six-year, $25.5 million extension in November 2013.
Returns to big club
DDetroit Red Wings
November 13, 2019
The Red Wings recalled Ericsson from AHL Grand Rapids on Wednesday.
Ericsson missed the first chunk of the season due to an upper-body injury, and he was immediately sent to minors once healthy. The Red Wings have piled up injuries on the blue line, however, so the 35-year-old will get another shot with the big club. His rearrival in Detroit shouldn't concern fantasy owners, as Ericsson posted five points and a minus-10 rating over 52 games last year.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Simply put, Ericsson is not a viable source of fantasy points. He only put up three goals and 10 assists at even strength over 81 games last season, but the rearguard turned it up a notch defensively based on a career-high 133 hits and 84 blocked shots. Ericsson, who's listed at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, has two years remaining on a contract valued at $4.25 million annually -- that's a chunk of change for an offensively challenged blueliner, though the Red Wings have retained GM Ken Holland and that helps Ericsson's standing with the Eastern Conference club. Expect Ericsson to log his usual 19-odd minutes per game in 2018-19.
Having recorded only nine even-strength points in 51 games last season, Ericsson once again failed to move the needle in fantasy. The Red Wings are partial to their Swedes, but Ericsson spent a career-high 58 percent of his even-strength shifts in the defensive zone last year. Considering that he's only recorded three points while killing penalties over a decade of service time, don't expect Ericsson to arbitrarily evolve into a shorthanded specialist, though he does have the size (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) and grit to accumulate about as many PIM as games played. He broke his wrist in February, but should be all systems go for training camp.
Despite that he’s entering his 10th campaign with Detroit, Ericsson has never exceeded 15 points in a single season and his ice time has dipped in three straight years, falling to 18:32 in 2015-16. The Swedish defenseman is hardly a factor on the man advantage, as his power-play time amounts to seconds rather than minutes. Now for the positives: Ericsson is a leader on the blue line and knows the system well. Additionally, the offseason hiring of Doug Houda to oversee the defense could invigorate him. There’s reason to believe that the big skater will improve in 2016-17, but it’s safe to pass over him in fantasy since he’s been locked into a shutdown role for quite some time.
Ericsson missed the playoffs and part of the season with a finger injury last season, finishing with 11 points in 48 games. Ericsson is a solid, if unspectacular, defender that will typically score 10-15 points a year. While that doesn't typically hold much value in the fantasy world, to an NHL coach like Mike Babcock, unspectatular, steady defensive play is a highly-valued commodity.
Ericsson had a solid, if unspectacular, season in the first post-Lidstrom year in Detroit, posting 13 points in 45 games. While he may have been expected to contribute more offensively, he did steadily improve as the season went on and will start 2013-14 on the first defensive line. He should put up 20-30 points in 2013-14, making him a middle of the road fantasy defenseman.
As offensive blueliners go, Ericsson doesn't appear to have much forthcoming in terms of growth. Perhaps he'll earn the nod alongside Niklas Kronwall as the second member of the Wings' top defensive pairing, but the 28-year-old has never exceeded 15 points in a season and anything beyond 20-25 seems like a long shot even with a larger role. Further, he'll have a stable of offensive-minded competition for time with the man advantage, which also limits his offensive ceiling. Rolling the dice on a Detroit blueliner could pay dividends, but Ericsson is hardly the best option for that gamble.
Although it wasn't a big leap forward at the offensive end for Ericsson last season, he played a much more consistent game on the blue line and parlayed that growth along with the retirement of Brian Rafalski into a three-year commitment from the Wings over the summer. It's entirely possible that he'll be deployed alongside of Nicklas Lidstrom at even strength, which would make him a nice sleeper to bolster his offensive numbers this season. That's far from locked in, however, and it would be wise to keep a close eye on head coach Mike Babcock's defensive pairings during training camp as free-agent addition Ian White and prospect Brendan Smith could bump Ericsson into a third-pairing role with penalty-killing duty as his special teams contribution.
Tabbed by many for a potential breakout season a year ago, Ericsson was a colossal bust by most accounts and he appeared to lack certainty with his play in the defensive end. The season started off on a high note to the tune of eight points (3 G, 5 A) in the team's first 11 games. The aforementioned shaky defensive end work soon followed, and Ericsson started to spend time as a healthy scratch in the press box. The Wings signed Ruslan Salei to be a third-pairing option this season, so Ericsson will have to battle Jakub Kindl for ice time during training camp. In fairness, Ericsson suffered a deep bone bruise in his knee and that may have hampered him more than he let on. There's still a lot of potential here, but his leash will be short if he can't be more consistent with his decision making.
The Red Wings called up Ericsson in early March and that was the last he saw of Grand Rapids, as the Wings soon entrusted him with a regular spot in their blue-line corps. Displaying plenty of polish, Ericsson logged over 18 minutes per game during the team's run to the Stanley Cup finals and chipping in eight points and an impressive plus-nine rating over 22 postseason contests. With the Red Wings, he'll be a third-pairing guy for now, but down the road he could become productive enough at the offensive end to make a larger fantasy impact. With an opening for a point man on their second power-play unit, the Wings could look to Ericsson to fill the void, which would also boost his short-term fantasy value.
With Chris Chelios back in tow for another season at age 46, Ericsson may find himself in Grand Rapids (AHL) to begin the season. There's still tons of upside here in the long run, as Ericsson is a big, physical two-way blueliner with good hands and a huge shot. Keeper leaguers should continue to demonstrate patience with him, as he remains the team's top blue-line prospect, and Ericsson should have a regular spot in Detroit by 2009-10.
More Fantasy News
Cut loose by Detroit
DDetroit Red Wings
October 22, 2019
The Red Wings placed Ericsson (upper body) on waivers Tuesday, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports.
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Still on IR
DDetroit Red Wings
Upper Body
October 17, 2019
Ericsson (upper body), who's still on injured reserve, isn't in the projected lineup for Thursday's game against the Flames,'s Aaron Vickers reports.
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Unavailable against Canucks
DDetroit Red Wings
October 15, 2019
Ericsson (undisclosed) isn't in the projected lineup for Tuesday's road game against the Canucks, Kevin Woodley of reports.
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Practices Monday
DDetroit Red Wings
October 14, 2019
Ericsson (undisclosed) appeared at practice Monday, Dana Wakiji of the Red Wings' official site reports.
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Heads to IR
DDetroit Red Wings
October 7, 2019
Ericsson (undisclosed) was placed on injured reserve by the Red Wings on Monday.
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