Today is June 1st.
Among other things, it's the deadline for teams to finish signing prospects from the 2009 Entry Draft to their Entry Level Contracts, or they will become draft eligible once again.
In most cases, that's a fairly simple formality - after all, getting to the NHL is getting to the NHL, and unless your name is Blake Wheeler or Eric Lindros, you don't complain about a team wanting to give you a shot.
But sometimes, like Lindros and Wheeler, you get a surprise when a team can't agree with a prospect, for whatever reason - and he has enough talent to make other teams take notice.
Enter Tim Erixion.
On paper, Tim Erixion was decent mid to late first round level talent, and it wasn't a surprise when he was taken 23rd overall by the Calgary Flames. At 6'2" and 205 lbs, he's a very solid two way defender who isn't afraid to throw his body around, but also possesses excellent stick handling skills and aggressive instincts. He isn't necessarily a pure offensive d-man, but you could put him in to quarterback your power play and make good movements in a transition game.
More importantly, since his draft year, he's become a consistent SEL player for Skelleftea and a contributor on the Swedish U-20 program, including 24 points (5G, 19A) in 48 Elitserien games this season, and two goals and four assists in 12 games with the Swedish U-20 squad.
Erixion is blossoming into a very effective young defenseman, and it's likely that he could make the jump to the NHL next year in the right circumstances. Even better, he's a free agent in the SEL this summer, so there's no need to worry about contracts or transfer agreements.
Matchsticks & Gasoline have been tracking the issue today, as have Flamesnation. The issue of why Calgary hasn't been able to get him done isn't clear - but all indications are he's going to re-enter the draft.
With his improved skills, frame, and experience, it's all but certain he'll be a top ten pick, and I'm rooting for Calgary to fail...but not for the reason you might think.
Though on paper, Erixion sounds like an excellent option for the Blue Jackets, if Scott Howson is still planning to trade the #8 pick and Erixion is still available, I'd argue that it makes him a perfect bargaining chip - shop the pick as hard as you can between the clubs who are interested (it's been reported the New York Rangers are very high on him - Erixion's father played for New York during his NHL career), and let the club that really wants to grab Erixion step up to the podium while the Jackets get a solid injection of talent.
As has been repeated, Columbus needs help NOW - and really, we need experienced, proven help. This could be exactly what we need to help get the best value out of that first rounder and bring in a difference maker.
I'm hoping Jay Feaster's phone lines stay very, very quiet today.