Well, the Rick Nash trade has happened and as usual, many people had a problem with the deal. Seems like most wanted a prospect like either Derek Stepan or Chris Kreider (or both if you were feeling greedy). Notice how I didn’t say top prospect because THAT is who we got in defenseman, Tim Erixon. While he was not their top offensive prospect, according to The Hockey News future watch issue, Tim was the Rangers’ top prospect and the 17th best in hockey. When I asked Hockey Prospectus and ESPN prospect expert Corey Pronman, he said Erixon is now our top prospect and he likes Erixon a little more than 2012 top pick Ryan Murray.
First, the easy stuff. Erixon is a 6’2″ 190 defenseman born in Port Chester, New York who plays for Sweden internationally. The reason Tim was born in New York is because his dad, Jan, was playing for the Rangers. Jan spent his whole career in New York playing 556 games scoring 216 points and was known as a shutdown defensive forward. Tim was drafted 23rd overall in 2009 by the Calgary Flames, two picks after John Moore (now giving the CBJ the 6th ranked North American skater and the 5th ranked European skater in that draft). The Flames tried to sign Tim but couldn’t, so he ended up in New York just before the signing deadline. The “supposed” reason he wouldn’t sign in Calgary is because they wouldn’t give him a fair shot at a roster spot.
Now for a scouting report. Something that was brought up more than once is his hockey sense. When I spoke to Corey Pronman, he called him a “high-end thinker and passer who plays a completely mistake free game”. His passing was also brought up multiple times, with scouts saying he is ”an excellent passer that always hits his mark with accuracy.” That would probably explain his 30 assists last year with the (fail) Whale (sorry Connecticut’s jerseys and logo are horrible).
Two years ago, as Skelleftea was making a run at the title, Tim was part of a young talented D corps that included two other first round picks. Adam Larsson (NJ-11), the youngest of the trio, and David Rundblad (STL-09 now with Phoenix) who was the flashiest, received the most press, it was Erixon who was the main guy and got the toughest minutes. At 19, Erixon logged nearly 20 minutes a night which is unusual for a teenager in the Swedish Elite League, and speaks volumes about his advanced hockey sense. Tim was one of Sweden’s top D-men at last year’s World Championships, winning a silver medal and played a strong shutdown game. Most people believe he has 2nd PP unit upside. David Ekstrom, a reporter from Skelleftea, said Tim has a great shot from the point, he just didn’t get to use it much in Sweden because the team used only one D on the power play, and that was Rundblad most of the time. Patrick Hall, a scout for FutureConsiderations.ca, said that while Erixon doesn’t throw his body around, he’s pretty strong when it comes to board battles.
Now while we added Tim, we had to say goodbye to Steven Delisle. This more than likely was a contract dump much like when the Jackets got Curtis McElhinney in the Vermette trade. No offense to Steven, as he’s battled injuries, playing only 50 games the last two seasons in three leagues. So it would seem that this move was definitely to the Jackets’ advantage.
There you have it folks, time Erixon – the newest member of the Blue Jackets impressive stable of young defensemen.