Leafs claim Tim Erixon on Waivers

The Toronto Maple Leafs have padded their defensive depth
chart just a little bit more today, claiming Swedish-American Tim Erixon off of
waivers from the Chicago Blackhawks.

Erixon was once a very highly touted prospect. Drafted 23rd
overall by the Calgary Flames in 2009, Erixon was developed in the Swedish
Elite League (now SHL), playing against men by the time he had turned eighteen.
Since being drafted, however, he’s been used more as a bargaining chip than as
a defenceman.

In 2011, before playing his first NHL game, the Flames
traded him to the New York Rangers for Roman Horak and two second round picks.
Erixon then split the year between playing limited minutes with the Rangers and
big minutes with the Connecticut Whale (Hartford Wolf Pack), where he scored 33
points in 52 games as a 21 year old.

His tenure on Broadway was even shorter than the one in
Calgary, however. In July 2012, Erixon found himself in the Rick Nash trade, as
just one of the pieces the Rangers gave up to acquire their eventual star forward.
The Blue Jackets gave him the bulk of the lockout shortened season as NHL
experience, but he spent most of last season in the AHL, where he put up just
under a point per game in about half a season.

Erixon started this year with Columbus, but moved one more
time to the Hawks. This time, he was traded for Jeremy Morin in a one-for-one
prospect swap. He put up no points in eight games, and with the deadline
approaching and an arms race happening in the Western Conference, Erixon was
placed on waivers to make room for other potential moves. The rest, they say,
is history.

Good Move?

I think so. Erixon has shown a fair bit of promise at times,
and is still just twenty four years old. He’s a restricted free agent at the
end of the season, meaning that the Leafs can easily keep him if they like what
they see over the coming months. Defencemen that are 6’3 with offensive
inclinations aren’t exactly easy to find, and if they can find a way to
transition that game to the NHL level, there’s a lot to be gained.

As well, this allows the Leafs more flexibility in terms of
trading a defenceman in the next twenty six hours. Suddenly, somebody like
Korbinian Holzer is easier to trade from a depth perspective, and moves are
less likely to require rushing prospects up from the Marlies that they’d rather
see contribute to wins.

Overall, this is a no-cost, high reward transaction that you
take whenever you get the opportunity to do it. Teams are generally selective
about waiver claims due to total contract restrictions, but in this case, the
Leafs benefited from the Carter Ashton + David Broll to Tampa Bay trade, which
gave them flexibility.

No timeline yet as to when he’ll draw into the lineup. 

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  • STAN

    You missed an important detail. He was reluctantly traded by the Flames because he refused to sign n Calgary. Given how much he has bounced around since then it seems like he may have some attitude problems. He should fit in with the Leafs perfectly!

  • STAN

    Buds are loading up on AHL-seasoned d-men with offensive upside (welcome back T.J. Brennan), but who’ve proved to be NHL busts.

    Not sure what the strategy is except perhaps to keep swapping AHL types for other AHL types.

  • STAN

    Erixon went 23rd, first round… far ahead of Ryan O’Reilly (33, second round, Colorado) and decent Leafs forward Richard Panik (52nd, second round, Tampa Bay).

    He isn’t the first and won’t be the last first rounder to have an underwhelming NHL career.

    Still, at 24 there is still time for the light to click.

  • CMpuck

    Ever since the Kubina, Kaberle, Clarkson, White days it seems the Leafs go all in for offensive blueliner and that fails to work.

    I suppose they attempted do a 180 with the Komisarek, Beauchemin signings.

    Phaneuf, Rielly, Franson, Gardiner? Out Franson but eventually in Percy? We need some glue guys, wouldn’t mind resigning Holzer.

  • CMpuck

    I believe the correct way to read this move
    is that the Leafs are about to trade a defenseman
    and by claiming him there is one fewer NHL caliber defenseman for someone else.

    The only question to ask is which defenseman will the Leafs move by the deadline.

  • CMpuck

    Jeffler caught the #Stevitivity bug. So Erixon for Ashton + Broll, and a fill in when Holzer or possibly Polak are traded.

    I think people tend to forget defensemen take a bit longer to develop. Looking at the 2009 draft – Hedman, Leddy, and OEL are the standouts; and all of them really not coming into consistent NHL regular form until last year; at least what we expect from an NHL caliber regular in their role.

    de Haan, Vatanen, Ellis, Kulikov, Cowan, and Despres making up the second wave and the likes of Moore, Erixon, Ekholm, Olsen, Elliot, Barrie, Dumoulin and Rundblad trying to take next steps in the AHL/NHL development.