Friday, May 2, 2008
With how many goaltenders we had in net this season, it’s a little surprising that Erik Ersberg was the first ever Swedish tender to play for the Kings. It seemed like we were rolling them out one-by-one and even overlapping sometimes. Next thing you know we’ll have an Asian kid in there! Oh wait…
In 14 games played, he recorded 6 wins, 5 losses, and 3 OT losses, with a 248 GAA, and a .927 save percentage. Even though he only played 14 games, Ersberg impressed me and the rest of Kings nation. His calm demeanor in net really allowed for the rest of the team to relax and just play hockey. I thought the team looked more like a cohesive unit in front of Ersberg at the end of the season. I'm not sure if that was more due to them having nothing to lose (since they were in the cellar anyway) or if it was because Ersberg gave them a chance to win every game. The squad definitely looked better together for this ending stretch of games than in any other run of wins. Although, the 8-game roadtrip out to the east coast wasn't too bad. Although that one against New Jersey wasn't so fun... or that one against St. Louis, but whatever.
Going back to Ersberg, he definitely provided me with some drama and laughter, I’ll admit that. The whole Jason Spezza popping Ersberg’s helmet off his head was definitely a scary incident, and I think that was the only type of occurrence that happened. But I definitely enjoyed seeing him make the occasional funny face, which I’m sure he wasn’t intending to do. Even though he’s a little older than me, he looks so young, which completely endears him to me. I wanna stick him in my pocket and perhaps occasionally pull him out and feed him a protein shake.
He is actually a Restricted Free Agent this summer, and I'm wondering when he will be signing another contract since I'm pretty sure that the Kings want to keep Ersberg around. If he doesn't make the team, then they have a solid option for the top spot at Manchester. He made $575,000 this past season and I could see him inking a 2-year contract, which would take him to Unrestricted Free Agency. I see the Kings signing him for a relatively cheap price since he hasn't REALLY been tested so he won't need the whole arbitration dealy (*ahem* Cammy...).
14 games in the NHL definitely does not make me want to proclaim him as the number one just yet. He needs to be in net for more games to prove that he’s ready to play for the majority of the season. Plus, he is one of many tenders who are going to be fighting for a ticket to the big kids’ playground at training camp at the end of summer. At this point, it's anyone's guess as to who will man the pipes next season. All I know is that I want to see some consistency with whoever is in net. I don't want to see another 7 goalies next year. Well, 6 since we all know that Clouts is out of here and, actually, 5 since Aubin is wearing orange now. If Ersberg actually makes it as the #1 or #2 and if he can stay healthy then I could see him making a big name for himself. But before I get too far ahead of myself, I have to remember that Good Ole Barbs and Baby Bernier will be fighting like hell for those two spots.