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2016 Montreal Canadiens free agency targets: Loui Eriksson could be just what the Habs need

A solid two-way winger, Loui Eriksson may be the missing piece in the Habs' top-six.

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Since being acquired for Tyler Seguin by the Bruins, Loui Eriksson has been one of their most reliable forwards night in and night out. However, it would appear that the 30 year old Swede will not be back with the Canadiens biggest rival this upcoming season, and is now one of the most sought after UFA targets.

Eriksson Hero

Eriksson is a rare breed of forward in today's NHL. He is great on the defensive side of the puck, and limits scoring chances for opposing teams. Within the same role, he also produces a solid amount of offense not only in terms of goals and primary assists, but also in how many shots he generates.

Adding another solid penalty killing presence in Eriksson can also compensate for the loss of Lars Eller, and take some pressure off of Tomas Plekanec.

While he's just exiting his prime as a player, Eriksson is more than capable of scoring at least twenty goals in a season, even on struggling teams such as the Bruins in their last two years. A consistent goal scoring second-line winger is something Montreal has lacked since they traded Mike Cammalleri in 2012. That role has been a thorn in the Canadiens side since Marc Bergevin has taken over the reigns as GM.

Michael RyderThomas VanekP.A. Parenteau and Alex Semin were all brought in to fix this issue, and none lasted more than one season in Montreal. Eriksson would kill two birds with one stone, adding a legitimate scoring winger in the top six, and bringing some much needed stability.

Image Credit: Corsica Hockey

The 2013-14 season - his first with the Bruins - is clearly well behind him. He scored a mere 10 goals that year, but he since appears to have found the form that he was in during his time with the Dallas Stars. He'd slot in very nicely on a second trio behind Max Pacioretty on the depth chart.

With the recent signing of Andrew Shaw Montreal currently has around $8 million in cap space, and as appealing as Steven Stamkos is, the fact now is he is likely out of the Habs price range unless they move out some salary. Eriksson, on the other hand, should easily fit without losing a roster player.

Eriksson's current contract is valued at 4.25 million AAV so he is likely due for a bit of a pay raise. It's entirely possible that he could slide under the radar, while bigger names such as David Backes, Kyle Okposo, and Milan Lucic become the subject of bidding wars.

Reasonable expectation should be somewhere around 3-4 years and likely somewhere in the $5-6 million range. He may also be interested in a shorter deal - one or two years - with a higher salary. Basically he's either going to want term with less money, or a short deal with more money. Either way, he can help any teams looking for scoring.

The only real concern with him is age. You probably don't want to go any higher than four years, considering that he will eventually enter a decline.

Given his skillset, and the pressing need for a player of his ilk in Montreal this could be a match made in heaven for both parties involved.