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
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,
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.