In the third edition of our "Get to know..." series, it's time to look at the first of the former New York Rangers: defenseman Tim Erixon. Erixon has had an interesting start to his career, after being Calgary's first round pick in 2009. Being unable to sign him, Calgary traded Erixon's rights to the Rangers in the summer of 2011.
Fast forward one year, and Erixon is on the move again, this time as part of the blockbuster trade of Rick Nash to the Rangers. The 21-year-old defenseman was considered the Rangers' top prospect not really in the NHL. Last season was Erixon's first in North America, as he previously spent three full seasons with Skelleftea HC of the Swedish Elite League. He spent the majority of the year with the Rangers' AHL affiliate in Connecticut, where he played in 52 games. He notched just three goals, but poured in 30 assists. For the Rangers, he appeared in 18 games, with no goals and two assists.
Erixon comes to Columbus as part of a now-suddenly-deep blue line, as despite his pedigree and development track he is most like the seventh defenseman at best right now in Columbus. This is a good problem to have, as the club continues to rebuild from the defensive end first.
Erixon is added to the stable of young defensive players including John Moore, Ryan Murray, David Savard, Dalton Prout, Cody Goloubef, and Will Weber. And Erixon might have about as high a ceiling as any of those guys, except for maybe Murray.
Anytime you can add that kind of a player to your pipeline, it's not a bad thing. Let's learn a bit more about Erixon.
Birthplace: Port Chester, NY
2011-12 Stats: 18 GP / 0 G, 2 A, 2 Pts, -2, 8 PIM
Previous team: New York Rangers
Who Columbus Gave up: Rick Nash, Steve Delisle, and a conditional third rounder in exchange for Erixon, Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, and a first round pick.
Contract: Erixon is going into the second year of his three-year entry-level deal, where he will have a cap hit of $1.75 million per season.
Strengths: Erixon is a smart, two-way defenseman who has good vision and is positionally sound, and he has great size and mobility. He can play the point on the PP, and has a strong, active stick defensively.
Weaknesses: Erixon is not a guy who, despite his size, is going to be overly physical on defense; he relies on positioning and stick work. While he will contribute on offense, he doesn't have a super-high ceiling offensively.
Where he fits: Right now, Erixon is probably going to Springfield unless he has a tremendous training camp and Ryan Murray and John Moore aren't ready. Down the line, Erixon projects to be a top-four defenseman, with the potential to be a top pairing guy if he reaches his full potential.