Tim Erixon came into the league the way most professional athletes should not: Unable to reach a deal with the team that drafted him, forcing a trade him to another team before he even hit the ice. Some say there was only one team he would consider, the New York Rangers, the team his dad played for in the 80's.
Needless to say, when Tim Erixon was included as part of the package in return for Rick Nash last summer, the first question many asked was: Is he even going to show up?
Boy, did he show up.
During the lockout, he played for the Blue Jackets' AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons. Erixon netted 5-24-29 in 40 games with a +9 rating for the Falcons. Once the lockout ended, many thought he would make the Jackets roster out of the shortened training camp. Although he was edged out by John Moore and David Savard, it's no surprise that once he got his first call up, he has yet to give up his roster spot.
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While Erixon isn't putting up the same points he did at the AHL level, much of that can be attributed to the Blue Jackets lack of scoring power; the team has only scored 21 goals in the last 10 games. He's also not yet seeing any ice time on the power play. In a lot of ways, Erixon's play makes me think of him as the successor to Fedor Tyutin: A solid, underrated second pairing defenseman that may not make the highlight reels, but is vital to any successful team.
In most cases, the biggest complement you can give to a defenseman is that on most good nights, you don't notice him. Erixon blends into the roster for all the right reasons. He'll occasionally get out of position, usually trying to make a hip check or go for the puck, but it's only happened a few times that I can recall. It's usually not a bad idea, more like he's underestimating the speed and skill of players at the NHL level. And that's the kind of thing that will come with experience, after all, he did just turn 22 last month.
He's a good skater with size to his advantage, and one of the most common adjectives thrown around when describing Erixon is "smart."
Tim Erixon is exactly the type of player this team needs to continue building around. When former general manager Scott Howson traded Rick Nash for Erixon, Brandon Dubinsky, and Artem Anisimov, he seemed to know exactly what he wanted the team to look like moving forward. In another few years, Howson might get a little more credit for that trade than originally received.
What do you think, is Tim Erixon part of the Blue Jackets future foundation?