NHL New York Rangers

Rangers acquire defenseman Erixon from Flames

The New York Rangers sent forward Roman Horak and two 2nd round draft picks to the Calgary Flames today for defenseman Tim Erixon and a 5th round draft pick. The draft is going to be held from June 24-25 at the Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild. TSN’s Bob McKenzie believes that Erixon is ready to play in the NHL.

Erixon, 20, was a first round choice of the Flames (23rd overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and is the son of former Ranger Jan Erixon. The young blue-liner has played parts of the last four years with Skelleftea HC of the Swedish Elite League. He recorded 44 points in 140 games (14 goals, 30 assists) and had three seasons of playing in the postseason.

The reason why Calgary made Erixon expendable is because he didn’t sign with the club and would have been eligible to re-enter the draft had he not been signed/traded by today’s 5pm deadline. Scouts say that Erixon could have been a Top 10 pick this year due to his two-way ability and overall weak draft class. He only adds on to an impressive young defensive core of Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, and Michael Sauer. The move also gives an extra hurdle to the struggling Michael Del Zotto, who had a promising rookie year in 2009-10, but couldn’t regain that form this past season.

Horak was drafted by the Rangers in the 5th round of that same draft and saw his offensive numbers balloon during his second season in the Western Hockey League. The 20-year old scored 26 goals and helped out 52 more for a total of 78 points, 31 points more than the previous season despite playing in two less games.

Again, Erixon is only 20 years of age and never even got a chance with Calgary to play in the NHL. This was a pretty steep price to pay for a guy that hasn’t played any professional hockey in North America, but it’s worth the gamble. I’ve always believed that building a team from the blue-line up is the right way to go, so thumbs up to the management for making this move. Expect more changes on the horizon for a team that should be rising from the ashes in the Eastern Conference.