Expectations For Next Year
Erik, you've got to understand that all of the promise you showed us in your breakout rookie season - all the speed, timely goals, and shutting down elite scorers - has been tainted by your performance in your sophomore year. We still believe that you can be a force in the NHL, but you are going to have to earn every minute you see on the ice by beating opponents to pucks, skating around defenders, and being a standout shutdown defender. We aren't going to be able to retain everyone on our roster, and that turnover will lead to an increased role for you on special teams, but if you want to find yourself playing above the 4th line again, you are going to have to rediscover the elements of your game that brought you success such as moving your feet, controlling your gaps, and never relenting when you are on the ice.
1. Get Healthy - We know you had a pretty tough injury in the World Championship following last season and that it was likely a major contributor to your conditioning coming into camp and ultimately lead to a poor start to the season. You can't afford to repeat that next year, and we're looking forward to you starting with a truly clean slate.
2. Conditioning - We want you to come to camp in the best shape of your life, so if you thought summer was going to be a break for you, please think again. We don't want questions of your conditioning to follow you around next year, and you will have to show a noticeable difference to silence your critics.
3. Faceoffs - Keep practicing. You improved 1% this year to 46%, but we need that closer to 50% because we want to keep you at center.