As announced on August 1st, prospect guru Russ Cohen will be giving us some insight on some of the New York Rangers top prospects and draft picks this month. For those of you who don't know Cohen is an author http://www.amazon.com/Russ-
His first entry for us is on Tim Erixon, who the Rangers acquired form the Calgary Flames back in June. Erixon, one of the most touted prospects in the Flames' system, didn't sign a contract with Calgary and would have re-entered the draft if a deal couldn't be struck. So the Flames, who stood to lose him for a mere second round pick, dealt him to the New York Rangers for a pair of second round picks and Roman Horak.
Erixon joins an already vastly talented pool of young defenseman on the Rangers, and the big question asked after his acquisition is: How big of an impact can he have, and how soon will he have it?
Well, Russ answers that below the jump.
Erixon Trade Could Be a Steal by Russ Cohen
Tim Erixon is the son of one of the more unheralded and popular Rangers from the 80's and 90's teams. Jan, known strictly for his defense was a forward but his son is a defenseman, which stands to reason and make no mistake about it, he can play and his dad has had an impact on his career.
I watched him before he was drafted in 2009 and he was impressive, so much so, that I thought he was a first rounder. Sure enough he was drafted 23rd overall by the Calgary Flames. I know he was on the Rangers radar but they chose Chris Kreider with the 19th overall pick and that was a good choice, so they had to pass on him. When they acquired him it was a smart move, sure they gave up two second rounders, and Roman Horak, but they got a 5th in return and they got yet another top prospect, much like Ryan McDonagh. This Swede could round out the Rangers blueline as soon as this season.
I was very impressed when I saw him at the World Junior Champioships this past winter. . He was Sweden's second best defensive defenseman (Adam Larsson, Devils, was the best) and he can move the puck. He showed some offensive prowess but if that ever emerges at the NHL level that will probably happen down the road since he is likely to be a 3rd pairing guy for most of this season. When his team lost to the Americans, and failed to get a medal, I saw firsthand how he can shrug off big losses and stay composed.
"They were a little bit better, we played a tight game, but they came back really, really, strong in the third, "said Erixon
He has a pedigree, he thinks the game at a high level and he processes information quickly. He plays it safe most of the time and rarely takes foolhardy chances.
At 6-3, 205 he can be a real asset to the Blueshirts. Getting back to that '09 draft I had a chance to talk to him about my new book "100 Ranger Greats" and he was thrilled that his dad made the book (ranked 81st). He also talked about his happy memories as a youngster interacting with the kids and players from those teams leading up to the Rangers eventual Stanley Cup winning squad.
He's played in 128 games, all in the Swedish Elite League. Forget about the points and the stats they really don't translate. The game is different the ice surface is much bigger so its not a good barometer. When he played in the World Juniors in Buffalo, that was on North American ice, and a better gauge on how he might do at the next level. The bottom line is his training camp will be an adjustment period so he can't be viewed as a lock to make the team at the tender age of 20.
Russ Cohen is an author http://www.amazon.com/Russ-