Tim Erixon’s second call up was short lived, as the Rangers returned the rookie defenseman to the CT Whale of the AHL last night. Erixon was called up as a precaution for the Rangers road trip to St. Louis and Phoenix. Although many –including us– assumed he would be playing during this call up, John Tortorella specifically stated that Erixon was an emergency call up, and would be returned as soon as the road trip was over.
Much to his word, Erixon did not play and was returned even before the road trip ended. Erixon had recently returned from injury before his call up, and it is assumed the organization does not want to rush him.
It is curious that the Rangers didn’t intend to play him. If they needed an emergency guy, they have Brendan Bell in the AHL as well. But I guess the Rangers needed to be sure they would have the body in St. Louis (Bell needs waivers), and maybe Erixon needed another day or two before getting back on the ice. Regardless, still a curious decision to call him up.
What isn’t a curious decision is the decision not to force Erixon into the lineup. It’s easy to see why the organization might be tempted to do so: Marc Staal and Mike Sauer are out indefinitely with concussions, forcing them to play the Steve Eminger/Jeff Woywitka/Anton Stralman trio for extended minutes. While they have been up to the task initially, it’s assumed they won’t be able to keep this up. Combine that with Dan Girardi playing 75 minutes a game, and the Rangers blue line is in dire straits.
Erixon has a bright future, and it will be with this organization. There’s no need to stunt his growth by playing him before he’s ready. That is the right call, and it’s a call the Rangers have been making with almost all of their prospects in recent years.