So, its been a long time since I posted here. Another season without a meaningful playoff run, but another season with young players making a meaningful impact on the team. A couple of pieces were still missing, and yesterday’s trade helped address one of them. So the trade that brought Tim Erixon to the Rangers organization yesterday was meaningful; greased in all likelihood by the trade that brought Oscar Lindberg to New York earlier this month.
First, let’s get the terms of the trade out of the way. Erixon and a 2011 fifth round selection (#133 overall) from Calgary to the Rangers for Roman Horak and the 45th and 57th overall picks (both second round selections) in this year’s draft.
A little background. Erixon was drafted by the Calgary Flames 23rd overall in 2009. With the 19th overall selection, the Rangers selected Chris Kreider. ISS had Erixon rated as a late second round pick that May, and ranked 5th overall among European skaters in the NHL Central Scoutings’ final rankings. At the time, Central Scouting’s Director EJ McGuire (can’t say his name enough, one of the greatest hockey prospect guys ever) called Erixon, “[a] smart defenseman who can either lead a rush or support the rush from behind.”
Erixon, whose father Jan played for 10 seasons with the Rangers, is the second cousin of the recently obtained prospect Oscar Lindberg and has played for the same team as Lindberg (Skelleftea) in the SEL for the last two years. Both of those are enough to answer the question of why Erixon the younger would want to play in New York and not play in Calgary. Money could be an issue too, as Erixon is rumored to have gotten a 2.7 million/ 3-yr ELC (numbers as per CapGeek).
So, the question being bandied around is, “was it worth giving up what the Rangers did to get Erixon”? Did the Rangers pay too much? Gordie Clark has defended the transaction this morning, but honestly he shouldn’t have had to. Here is why.
Erixon has gotten better and better over the last two seasons and should compete for an NHL roster spot this fall. He is very good defensively, as well as having the potential to be a power play quarterback. Michael Del Zotto is the only prospect in the system who could possible be a PP quarterback, and his defensive play has been severely lacking. Plus there are questions about his focus. At this point, obtaining Erixon will give the Rangers options as to whether to wait to see how Del Zotto matures or to trade him now.
That alone would be enough to give up a first round pick in this year’s draft, let alone Horak and two seconds. And believe me, the Rangers considered doing this. Probably because this draft is not exactly primo, especially after approximately the top 6-8 picks. So, if Calgary was unable to sign Erixon and he went back into the draft, he almost certainly would have gone top 10 this year–i.e., out of the Rangers’ reach.
Horak is a good prospect, but to be a third to fourth line NHL player. So he could be a top nine forward, emphasis on could be. As for the two second round selections in a relatively weak draft, who ever is picked is a complete crap shoot as to whether they make it to the NHL or not. So you grab this deal and run with it as fast as you can to sign off on it. Not only does it get the Rangers an almost certain top four defenseman, but also a much better likelihood of getting the recently acquired Lindberg to play in North America.
An outstanding trade for the Rangers