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Dallas Stars lock up Loui Eriksson with long term deal

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The Dallas Stars continued to lock down key members of the team today as they came to an agreement on a long term contract extension with winger Loui Eriksson.

Loui - a 2nd round pick of the Stars back in 2003 - had a breakout year last season leading the Stars in goals scored with 36 and also added 27 assists. His contract was set to expire at the end of this season, but he and the club agreeed to a six year extension that will see him remain a member of the Stars until the 2015-16 season.  The deal is reported to be worth 25.5 million dollars.

GM Joe Nieuwendyk had this to add about the new deal in a press release to the media:

"We are very pleased that we were able to agree to this long-term contract extension with Loui," said Nieuwendyk. "He is a big part of our present and future and we feel his potential is just scratching the surface. Loui made great strides in his game last season and he has continued to impress as one of our best players in training camp. The future is very bright for him and we're excited that his future will be with the Dallas Stars."

Again it's yet another sign that the Stars are opening up the pocket book to keep key members of the club long term, and with a deal that averages out to 4.25 million a year, some would argue that getting a 30+ goal scorer for that kind of money is a great bargin.  It's also a sign that Nieuwendyk and his managment team have a long term plan for the Stars going forward.

Stay tuned to Defending Big D for more thoughts about this contract extention and what the last two days worth of news - this and the Robidas extension - may be saying about this team's future.

[UPDATE by Brandon Worley, 10/02/09 4:28 PM EDT] Dallas Stars press release after the jump:

 

FRISCO, Tex. - Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk announced today that the hockey club has signed left wing Loui Eriksson to a six-year contract extension worth $25.5 million. Eriksson, who's current contract was set to expire at the end of this season, is now signed through the 2015-16 season.

"We are very pleased that we were able to agree to this long-term contract extension with Loui," said Nieuwendyk. "He is a big part of our present and future and we feel his potential is just scratching the surface. Loui made great strides in his game last season and he has continued to impress as one of our best players in training camp. The future is very bright for him and we're excited that his future will be with the Dallas Stars."

Eriksson, 24, led the Stars in goals last season with 36, which marked a career-high. He appeared in all 82 games, leading the team in plus/minus (+14) and takeaways (80), while ranking second in points (63). Among NHL leaders, Eriksson ranked second in shooting percentage (20.2%), tied for seventh in even-strength goals (28), and tied for 12th in overall goals. He more than doubled his previous career-bests of 14 goals and 31 points, both set in 2007-08.

Eriksson's 36 goals last year were the most by a Star since Brett Hull scored 39 in 2000-2001. He became the 10th player in Dallas Stars history, and the 27th in franchise history, to record a 30-goal season.

The native of Goteborg, Sweden, was Dallas' second round selection (33rd overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Eriksson has played in 210 NHL games, all with Dallas, scoring 56 goals and 57 assists for 113 points. He has also appeared in 22 playoff games for the Stars, scoring four goals and five assists for nine points.

Eriksson won a bronze medal for Team Sweden at the 2009 World Championships, scoring seven points (three goals, four assists) in nine games. He is expected to be a top candidate to skate for Sweden at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver this coming February.