New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has acquired defenseman Tim Erixon and a fifth-round draft pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft from Calgary in exchange for forward Roman Horak and two second round draft picks in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The Rangers also announced today that the club has signed Erixon to an entry level deal.Calgary had to make the deal as Erixon was about to re-enter the draft and had told the team that he was not about to agree to play in Abbotsford next season. The Rangers, well, I guess they decided Hobey Gilroy isn't good enough to come back and aren't sold on Michael Del Zotto's future after a season and a half of horrible hockey. Can't disagree on either count.
Now, you know you are old when the kids of the players you cheered for are entering the league. I could cope with Stastny but Erixon ... Jan was a personal favourite (along with Beezer). Now Tim is a far different player than his dad but you can be sure that the kid will have a good grasp on the game. Tim has said that he patterns his game after Nick Lidstrom but from what I've seen he has a lot of qualities that Brian Rafalski displayed during his now-concluded career, just in a bigger body. He sees the ice well, can carry the puck, has a decent shot and is capable in his own end.
The cost, in my opinion, was high. Roman Horak is a legitimate NHL prospect averaged better than a point per game on a middling WHL team and is adept in the faceoff circle. Scoring and draws are two major deficiencies on the Rangers right about now. However, Jess from The Prospect Park pointed out a few weeks back that the Rangers didn't invite Ethan Werek or Horak to the Whale after their junior seasons ended and now both have been traded. Jess saw Horak a bit this year and wrote that the kid needs to fill out a bit and may spend next year in Europe. But the two second round picks is what gets me, considering the talent they have found in that round in recent years: Dubi, Sauer, Arty, Step, Werek and Christian Thomas - a far better haul the first round selections. The fifth rounder that they received from Calgary is all but worthless - in the last 20 years they have developed just three players from there: Dale Purinton, Tomas Kloucek and Nigel Dawes (the jury is still out on Scott Stajcer, Horak and Jason Wilson).
Many have immediately awarded this as a win for the Rangers (especially Flames fans) but I am not that quick to jump for joy. Erixon has played with men, he has been proven competent and he should get an immediate shot on Broadway. If it motivates MDZ to act like a professional and make him a decent hockey player or it sets him on the road out of town, I am all for it. But if this kid thinks that he deserves a spot (and acts like that) then the Rangers could have pissed away a useful player who was needed and two picks that could have eventually contributed for another arrogant child with a dubious future.