Free agent defenseman Jonathan Ericsson hopes that when he returns from vacation in his native Sweden there will be a nice little contract waiting for him in Detroit.â†µ
Ericsson expressed a desire to remain in Detroit and wasn't thrilled that he's an unrestricted free agent for the first time.â†µ
When the Wings' players cleaned out their lockers for the season a couple weeks ago, Ericsson made it clear he wasn't all that excited about testing the waters as an unrestricted free agent. "I really like it here, and my first choice is to be here," Ericsson said then.â†µ
The loyalty to Detroit is likely stemmed from the fact they were literally the only team that showed interest in him. Ericsson was drafted 291st overall in the ninth round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, the last player taken in the draft. His role has gradually increased over the last few years and is set to be even more important with the recent retirement of Brian Rafalski. Ericsson made less than $1 million last year and is surely set for a raise.â†µ
The Red Wings did sign a defenseman over Memorial Day, but it wasn't a replacement for Rafalski. Andrej Nestrasil, the Wings 2009 third round pick, signed a three-year entry level contract and will begin play with the Grand Rapids Griffins next year.