Feb 1, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars left wing Loui Eriksson (21) takes the ice to face the Phoenix Coyotes at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeat the Coyotes in the overtime shootout 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Making the Grade: Loui Eriksson

With the regular season over, it’s time for players around the league to be evaluated for their effectiveness and their value to a team. We’ll be doing the same thing throughout the month of May, and we’d love to hear your opinions on our grading.

We’ll travel through the team in numerical order this year and we’ll hit every individual that was on the roster as of Saturday April 27; the official end of the Stars season.

Loui Eriksson

Seven years ago, Loui Eriksson joined the Dallas Stars after a five-year stint in various Swedish leagues, followed by a year in Iowa with the Iowa Stars in 2005; Dallas’ then Des Moines-based AHL farm team. In Eriksson’s first year with Iowa, he played alongside other well-known Dallas Stars players including Krys Barch, Nicklas Grossman and Toby Petersen. Eriksson skated in 78 games during his first year in Iowa, and scored 31 goals, recorded 29 assists and closed the season with an impressive positive 20 in the plus/minus.

Eriksson’s debut season in the NHL was drastically different from his previous year in Iowa. The then-21-year-old Swede played in only 59 games, and posted just six goals and 13 assists. Perhaps the most extreme difference was his closing out the year at negative three in the plus/minus. It was quickly obvious the season was a mere hiccup.

Since 2007, Eriksson has scored 132 goals and recorded 194 assists. Even this season, despite the lockout, Eriksson tied Jamie Benn as the team’s leading goal scorer, landing 12 goals in 11 games. While the numbers indicate he may not have hit a career-high had the season gone the full 82 games, and despite closing the season with a minus nine, it’s safe to say the Stars would be well off and sunk without Eriksson on the bench.

Many fans were concerned with his performance post-lockout, stating he wasn’t performing to his previous standards, but the numbers he posted indicate his season was pretty on par. And looking back to the 2008-2009 team, when Eriksson posted an NHL-career-high 36 goals, the Stars had centers Mike Modano, Mike Ribeiro, Brenden Morrow and Brad Richards. While Jamie Benn , Cody Eakin and Derek Roy are strong centers, only Benn has played a full season alongside Eriksson. The chemistry hasn’t had time to reach its peak volatility yet.

Because he has long been, and continues to be, one of the strongest members of the Stars roster across the board, I give Loui Eriksson straight A’s for the 2012-2013 season.

Goal scoring: A

Assists: A

Plus/Minus: A

On-ice presence and performance: A

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