(Source: ProHockeyTalk.com) – The good news is that Loui Eriksson has finally been the quality forward the Boston Bruins were hoping for when they traded for him in that Tyler Seguin deal.  The bad news for the Bruins is that Eriksson’s pulling off this strong work in the final year of his current contract.  Eriksson and the Bruins have begun early contract extension negotiations, according to reporters including ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun and TSN’s Darren Dreger

Back on October 12th I wrote I’m still accepting members to the Loui Eriksson fan club and that offer still stands today.  All are welcome to join the fraternity.  So to this Loui Eriksson lover the word that he and the Bruins are currently in contract extension talks just warms my heart.

However, contract extensions for players in this window of their career make me nervous as all hell.  If Peter Chiarelli was still the B’s GM today I’d say Loui would already have been extended until he was 45 years old.  But thankfully those days are gone.  Chiarelli is now in Edmonton handing out those golden tickets to Andrej Sekera and career backup goalie Cam Talbot.

Eriksson is 30 and will be 31 at the start of next season.  The rumor mill is he wants 5-6 years for about $6 million per.  That’s not going to happen in Boston.  But it’s no surprise the talks are starting that high like any good agent should do.  It seems though that the dream sticker price for the Bruins would be 4 years at about $5 million per.  I’m not sure that’ll happen either. 

What we don’t want is the albatross of a contract like Ryan Kelser’s out in Anaheim.  Just a ridiculous 6-year, $6.8 million per year deal for a 32-year old guy on the back 9 of his career.  But there’s no doubt that Loui probably loves the bar that Kesler’s extension set last summer.  In any case, I’m also a believer any contract can be traded even if it’s horrible.  Just look at the likes of Lecavlier, Horton, Clarkson, Kessel, and Luongo.  It can happen after a bad deal but the Bruins are in a position where they can completely avoid that situation.  They’ve got defensive needs to fill as well and Loui could be the trade chip to help solve those needs if the two sides can’t shake hands.  Having options, although not easy decisions to make, is still a bonus for the Bruins. 

With Krug due for a new contract this summer as well, and Marchand playing towards cashing much bigger checks after next season, the Bruins have some financial juggling to do regardless of how much cap space they have freed up, and will continue to free up, since Don Sweeney took over as GM.  I hope that means Loui can still remain a Bruin.  He can play in every game situation and that is extremely hard to replace in Claude Julien’s system.  He’s such a complete player that can thrive just outside the spotlight that is shining on Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.  I just don’t know how far they can go to extend him.  Certainly the term of the potential new deal scares me more than the amount of chingy they’re going to have to shell out.  But the fact that the talks have started with over a month until the trade deadline comes, makes this #1 Loui fan all warm and fuzzy inside.