Originally posted on Stars of Big D  |  Last updated 5/2/12

DALLAS - DECEMBER 29: Center Mike Modano #9 celebrates a goal with Loui Eriksson #21 of the Dallas Stars against the Chicago Blackhawks at American Airlines Center on December 29, 2009 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Loui Eriksson

2011-2012 Season GP Goals Assists Points +/- Shots on Goal PP Goals PP Assists TOI/G PIM Loui Eriksson
82 26 45 71 +18* 187 5 7 19:46 12

*denotes career highs

Ah Loui Eriksson, the Stars' swiss army knife. Eriksson did his usual bit of everything this year and put up his third straight 70 point season. Loui was the Stars most consistent and probably best player throughout the season. He, Michael Ryder and Vernon Fiddler were the only players for Dallas to play all 82 games, but it was Eriksson that put in the most work. He led all the Stars forwards in total ice time this year with 1,620:28, 140 more minutes than Mike Ribero. He had 200 more minutes than Ryder and and nearly 500 more than Fiddler.

Eriksson was a focal point of the team in every aspect of the game (which he pretty much is every year). He had the second most penalty-kill minutes (17 minutes behind Fiddler) and the second most power play minutes (two behind Ryder) while still playing first line for most of the season. He and Benn were by far the best two-way players on the team and were respectively second and first on the team in takeaways this year. You could have made a case that Loui deserved nominations for both the Lady Byng and the Selke trophies as well as a spot in the All-Star game, but he plays in Dallas and the East Coast has no clue who Loui is. Heck, he was voted most underrated player in the league and he still remains underrated. It really is amazing what Loui does, playing some of the most minutes on the team for the past four years and only missing a grand total of three games.

Wherever he went, players around him produced. Jamie Benn, Ribeiro and Ryder all had their best stretches of the season when they were on the same line with Loui. His defensive work was also mighty impressive when you consider he had to drag Ribeiro's carcass around for the second half of the season. Going up against top lines night in and night out, he still managed to lead the team in +/- (even if it is a mostly useless stat, it's still impressive). 

He finished the season two assists and three points away from career highs. If Benn and Ribs had been healthy the entire season, Loui would have easily passed those two marks. Unfortunately, he spent about a week and half playing with offensively challenged players like Tom Wandell (a nice late line player, but no way a top playmaker).

There were only a few things that went poorly for Loui this season. He struggled badly against the San Jose Sharks, tallying just one assist in six games against the division rival (the worst in his career against the Sharks). It's the only team that he faced multiple times and failed to produce against. He had 18 points against the rest of the division. He also, along with the rest of the team, had massive problems on the power play in getting points. After a stellar 25 point season with the man advantage last year, he only managed to get 12 points on the power play this season (second on the team behind Ribeiro's 15 points). 12 points is consistent with his career numbers though (he has 12 points on the power play in three of the last four seasons now), so maybe it wasn't too bad.

Loui also had a poor end to the season. In the last nine games of the year, he only had three assists. The Stars unsurprisingly lost seven of those nine games as a result and just missed out on the playoffs. That was the worst stretch of games that he had the entire year and it came at the worst possible time. When Eriksson struggles, the team loses and it was no different this year. I can't help but feel that he might have just run out of gas after the long year.

Despite all that though, he was still obviously one of the best players on the team and easily gets an A from me this season. Only Jamie Benn and Kari Lehtonen had equal or better years in my opinion.

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