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Posts tagged: Tim Erixon

Which Rangers Prospect Has Greatest Expectancy Next Season

While Evgeny Grachev wasn’t the top rated Rangers prospect last season he was perhaps, given all the circumstances surrounding him (and his career progression – or lack of it) the one player with the most eyes on him among media and fans alike. Grachev was (and still is, until the new season draws closer) our recent most ‘Prospect Watch’ player on the website – see the Grachev Watch box.

From being drafted to dominating in the OHL to making a quick ascent to the pro ranks many, many fans expected Grachev to quickly establish himself in the system and indeed, as a Ranger. Prospect websites were touting him a blue chip prospect and he was routinely expected to firm up a place in the NHL, but that never happened. Today, Grachev is no longer a Ranger and perhaps a victim of the burden of expectancy.

Next season the Rangers have numerous prospects potentially taking the next step. Where those next steps take them however – at this stage – is anyone’s guess. Among the prospects with a ton of expectancy surrounding them are Swedish pair Carl Hagelin and Tim Erixon (straight to NYC?), as well as prospects JT Miller (given the controversy surrounding his league move), Oscar Lindberg, AHL mainstay Dale Weise (last chance saloon?) and WJC stars Jesper Fasth and Chris Kreider.

Which player will be most closely watched? Which prospect do you want Blue Seat Blogs to follow the most? –using the prospect watch section. You may be most intrigued by recent draftees like Shane McColgan (can he get back to the level which had him tabbed as a first rounder) or Mike St Croix and/or Steve Fogarty.

The Rangers are in a great situation these days. The above named group of prospects are just a small handful of Rangers prospects worth monitoring over the coming season. The Rangers are blessed with depth in almost every position both at the NHL level and below. We’ll be keeping tabs on all the Rangers prospects including Dylan McIlrath and Ryan Bourque as well. Just let us know who you’re most interested in the comments section. Have at it, we’ll check in a few times ahead of training camp.

What Happens If Del Zotto Doesn’t Rebound?

The question at hand is a lot less daunting than it was during last season when the young defenseman stumbled through his second season. It’s less daunting now thanks to the acquisition of two way prospect Tim Erixon, however the question is still a valid one; how would the Rangers react if Del Zotto can’t find his game again?

Del Zotto having another bad year would likely bottom out his trade value and leave the Rangers with little organisational (pure) offense from the blue line as Erixon is seen as a two way presence whereas Del Zotto is the more dynamic, offensive type. Would another bad year mean the end of MDZ’s tenure with the Rangers? We saw what happened to Bobby Sanguinetti once it was clear to management that he’d never make it as a Ranger. Now granted, the situations are pretty different as Del Zotto has already proven he has what it takes to succeed at the NHL level but it can’t be denied that he’d be on shaky ground, to an extent.

Del Zotto’s future seems closely entwined with Tim Erixon’s. Considered NHL ready, if Erixon comes into camp and blows everyone away, coupled with anything less than his own impressive camp, Del Zotto will almost certainly begin the year in the AHL and it could be a long way back. Again, with an impressive camp from Erixon you can easily imagine the Rangers being a lot more open to trading the young Canadian defenseman while they still can.

Assuming Del Zotto doesn’t start well (for the record I’d be patient with him as his upside is very impressive) and the Rangers do indeed look to other players ahead of MDZ, would that impact the Rangers draft tendencies next summer? As mentioned, there is very little offensive help on the blue line in the system and with several Rangers forwards progressing nicely it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Rangers go down the defenseman draft route once again.

All of a sudden a poor MDZ exposes a few holes in the system. All of a sudden, next summer the Rangers may have a few big holes to plug. The team is still in need of drafting a goalie or two as the organisational depth is minimal while suddenly the Rangers need to find offense from the back.  Of course, again assuming the worst, the Rangers have depth at the NHL (and NHL ready) level and could easily deal a player such as Dan Girardi or a young forward for help instead of going the draft route, but of course dealing players away for help is never ideal.

Of course there’s another trail of thought. An impressive Erixon from the get-go may allow the Rangers to show (brave?) patience with Del Zotto and let him work through his issues with an entire season in the AHL. There’s no reason why Del Zotto couldn’t play a full year in the A and then make it back to the NHL. Plenty of elite defensemen have spent significant time learning and refining their games in the second tier (think Duncan Keith for starters), the only difference would be that Del Zotto got to the NHL via the NHL.

With plenty of forwards progressing nicely as well as rugged D-men such as Dylan McIlrath and Pavel Valentenko on deck, the Rangers may be posed with an interesting decision or two over the next 12 months with regards to their personnel decisions. Here’s hoping Del Zotto takes one decision out of the management’s hands.

Free Agency Musings!

It’s Musings Thursday. The day before Free Agency so that makes this the Free Agent edition of Musings. See what I did there? I’m a genius I tell thee….

I wanted to tell you all that today was Christmas Eve and that we would all be excited like little children for tomorrow morning. Someone got to it before me but the thought remains. I’m so excited. Are you?

Inconvenient: I’m moving apartments tomorrow. Location is a massive upgrade but in terms of Free Agency it’s a huge pain in the ass. Moving all my stuff to a place with no internet connection for two weeks on free agency day? Sweet Jesus! My dad is getting an unexpected visitor tomorrow as I use and abuse his internet connection all day. No way do I miss Free Agency day.

Brad Richards. Everyone has taken their guess at where he goes, for how long and most importantly for how much. I think the Rangers offer him 6 years and 42 million. Does he take it? I think so but the Rangers (in my humble opinion) will not be competing against themselves even if they are the best fit.

Random moment of the day: Driving to the garage to get my car fixed – for the second time in a week! – and a Mercedes drove past me with the private licence plate: CD NMC.  I kid you not. Has Chris Drury and his No Movement Clause come all the way over to the UK to get away from it all?

Fact: The Rangers will be considerably better after July 1st than it is today. Of that, I am convinced.

Over/Under on Rangers free agent signings? With the over/under being 2 I’m saying over. I think they bring in two new faces (including Mr Richards) and bring back one of their own free agents.

A few players have got new (temporary?) homes this past few days. Let’s discuss them. James Wisniewski; I know a lot of you guys wanted him on the Rangers but the defense (barring a depth addition) is set. The West got tougher though, because if Columbus can sign him up and they have Carter to go with Nash then this team is definitely a playoff team in my opinion. Or is it? The West remains stacked.

Christian Ehrhoff; First the Isles and now the Sabres. First things first he is a good defenseman that is about to be handsomely overpaid. I know plenty of people will have laughed at the Islanders inability to sign him but in the end it didn’t cost them to try so kudos for being aggressive. Speaking of aggressive, if the Sabres sign him they become much better. Given the new owners ambition don’t rule them out of the Richards sweepstakes, assuming BR would be willing to play there.

  • You want examples of Free Agency being shallow this year? The deals for Tomas Kopecky, Chad Larose and David Jones were very generous to say the least, especially Kopecky’s.

Jaromir Jagr. He loves the attention doesn’t he? If he signs with the Pens that’s bad news for the Rangers as he’s in the division and makes the Pens much better. They say the deal is stalling. Some say it’s because he wants to come back to New York. This is the guy that was the first hockey $100m earner. If I’m Sather I welcome him back IF he will play for league minimum. Money shouldn’t be a factor for him.

Beyond Free Agency: Prospect Camp has been interesting. A lot of players have impressed. Andrew Yogan looks like a keeper; strong on the puck with good size. He’ll impress for the Whale if he plays a full year there. Ryan Bourque has impressed, Fasth and Thomas are scoring goals, McIlrath is playing both ends of the ice well and Erixon has displayed some slick puck movement. All bodes well.

On McIlrath: He’s taking responsibility over? Hard to gauge amongst fellow kids but the fact the player covets the role of leader bodes well. If he can improve his skating he may be in New York sooner rather than later. I had him tabbed for the MSG no earlier than 2 more years but if he’s growing as a personality and his skating catches up to his size is it a long shot that he makes it next year? Not at all.

  • Hall of Fame Selection: I may be biased but I think Eric Lindros deserves entry eventually. This year’s class was a good one though and given the candidates next year he’s going to have to wait a while longer. Does Pavel Bure deserve it? Yes.

Good luck in retirement to Todd Marchant and Paul Kariya. In very different ways both were very good NHL’ers. Kariya for a while was truly elite while Marchant is an ex Ranger.

I purposely got to the end of this Musings post without discussing the Chris Drury buy-out. I’m the bigger man! Enjoy Free Agency people. Fingers crossed!! Go RANGERS (welcome, Brad).

 

Musings Time: Post Awards

It’s a Musings day and we have a lot to discuss. How much of it is worth discussing is up to you.

April 23rd. That was the date the Rangers were eliminated from the playoffs. Its two months today already. Time really does fly doesn’t it? Look at it this way: at least the next Rangers game should come around quickly.

It’s official: The Rangers are playing the Winter Classic. I have to admit, it’s great the Rangers are involved, but I truly think the league should have staged the game in New York. Imagine a game between two hated rivals such as the Rangers and Flyers and at an epic, famous venue like Yankee stadium (I know not available) or Giants Stadium? Hard to think the Phillies venue holds as much intrigue.

Music moment: I’m in a lively state recently. On my iPod right now are the Beastie Boys. Always gets me motivated. Sabotage is still the best music video of all time, in my opinion.

Awards Night 1: Nick Lidstrom did NOT deserve the Norris. His brand and reputation won him the trophy last night. The winner of the best defenseman title going minus 2? Oh my.

Awards Night 2: Corey Perry DID deserve the Hart. It seemed that every time I checked box scores during the season, especially down the stretch, he seemed to score the game winner or have a two goal game or massive influence the outcome of games. He was clutch, elite and it’s nice to see a fresh face win the trophy. 50 goals is always an impressive achievement.

Awards Night 3: I think the league (given the candidates) got most of the other major awards right. Kesler deserved to be the Selke – he had a stunning regular season. Thomas was dominant and statistically was the best goalie while Jeff Skinner had a 63 point rookie season which included an all star weekend – a very deserving Calder winner.

Nice to see ya! Henrik Lundqvist gets to face his hometown club before next season starts? Well, Torts may dress Marty Biron for the game. Yeah, right. It should be a great occasion for Henrik, wonder if his brother Joel will score on him?!

Awkward moment: I was at work last night and a man came up to me asking if I wanted to work with him. I had the ‘right look’ and he ‘liked the way I engaged’. I would be his ‘big summer signing’. I really struggled to take the man seriously.

What do you all think of the Islanders new lease agreement? I’ll be happy if it really means securing the Islanders locally. I like the rivalry.

Soccer time; Chelsea one of the biggest teams in World Football have just employed a 33 year old as their new manager. That’s less than 4 years older than me. Does that mean I can coach the Rangers?

NHL Draft week! Friday night is the first round, the Rangers are drafting 15th. Or are they? There is a legitimate chance they could move in the draft, but of course it depends who falls and who is available. Given the Leafs are itching to move up the draft (25th and 30th at present) I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Leafs try and swing a trade with the Rangers. Don’t forget we will be doing a live chat for the first round of the playoffs right here on BSB.

My draft choice: The more I look at it, the more I want Mark McNeil. Will he be available at #15?

Free Agency is 8 days Away. Who can say Richards?

When will Callahan and Dubinsky get their new deals? I’m thinking Callahan gets his new deal in July, Dubinsky in August. I don’t think Dubinsky’s new deal takes as long as his last one.

Rangers Top Rookie in 2011/12? Tim Erixon. He’ll score at least 25 points.

By the time free agency is upon us will Jagr have a new home? He will. It just won’t be New York. Has anyone divided opinion in recent years like number 68?

I am far, far too excited about the draft and free agency. I think the Rangers will be significantly better by the time the sun sets on July 1st. What do you think?

Erixon Arrival Promises Change To The Rangers

The Rangers are ‘counting on Erixon’ to make the team. These words, spoken by Rangers beat writer Steve Zipay on twitter, provided some significant insight on the newest member of the Rangers organisation. Numerous other writers and bloggers – not all from the Rangers community – congratulated the Rangers on the acquisition and many even went as far as to say that the Rangers have already had a good draft day because they will have ended up with two first round talents thanks to Erixon.

Assuming Erixon does make the team what do the Rangers have on their hands? Only 8 defensemen scored more points than Erixon in the SEL this past season. Many of those, including ex NHL players such as Janne Niinimaa and Josef Boumedienne, were veterans who can’t be considered to ‘still be developing’ like  20 year old Erixon.

Indeed, it appears only one ‘prospect’ scored more than Erixon and that was stud prospect David Rundblad. Erixon scored 24 points from the blue line in a league where only two players scored more than a point/game in the entire league (based on a minimum of 44 games played). The SEL is known as being a defensive, lower scoring league.

Erixon’s numbers are impressive whatever way you look at them. At just 20 years of age, listed at 6’3 and over 205lbs, the young Swede has the physical presence and skill to be a smart two way player for the Rangers for a long time. Two full years in the Swedish Elite League will have prepared him well for the NHL and that is without considering his substantial experience internationally.

So where does Erixon fit in?

Going back to Zipay’s words and the fact the Rangers expect him to make the club, one has to assume he’ll begin on the third pairing. The reason this is worth noting is because it will likely mean splitting up one of the top two pairs (Staal –Girardi, Sauer –McDonagh).

Why does Erixon’s arrival mean the splitting of one of the top two pairs?

Assuming Mike Del Zotto makes the Rangers out of camp (very plausible) it would be hard to imagine the Rangers putting Erixon on the third pair with MDZ. While Erixon acclimatizes to the NHL the Rangers will not want to put any extra pressure on Erixon, but especially not on Del Zotto as he tries to re-find his game. Giving Erixon a steady defensive partner like Mike Sauer or Dan Girardi would help him ease into his new role.

In addition to finding the right scenario for Erixon to develop in, upon graduation to NY Erixon probably becomes the Rangers second most skilled blue liner behind Del Zotto. Pairing them together would be a case of ‘putting all their eggs in one basket’. Change is coming to the New York blue line and not just in the arrival of Erixon, but because of the knock on effect he causes. Camp’s going to be interesting.

The Rangers Stole Tim Erixon

Let’s be clear about one thing here, the Rangers absolutely stole Tim Erixon from Calgary, and the Flames fans are not happy about it.  Not only did the Rangers acquire Erixon for Roman Horak and their two 2nd round picks this year, but they also got a 5th round pick in this draft.  To wrap up the trade: the Rangers get Erixon (23rd overall pick in the very strong 2009 draft) and the 134th pick in the 2011 draft, in exchange for Roman Horak (127th overall in 2009) and the 45th and 57th picks in the 2011 draft.  Not a bad swap.

For Calgary, it was obvious they couldn’t sign Erixon, so they had a choice of taking the package the Rangers gave them, or taking just the 53rd overall pick in this draft.  It was a bad situation regardless, so they took the best package they could get and will look to make the best of it.

As for the Rangers, this is highway robbery of Jay Feaster and the Flames.  Scouting reports for Horak, who had little or no future with the Rangers due to depth in bottom six forwards, show him anywhere from a second line forward to a career AHLer.  I tend to stay in the middle ground of these scouting reports, and say that he probably will wind up as a third line player who can chip in offensively.  Horak is a known entity, while the 5th round pick the Rangers received is not.  Seeing as how 5th round picks are generally toss ups, let’s call this aspect of the trade a slight win for Calgary.

If the 5th rounder coming to the Rangers for Horak is a slight win for the Flames, then the Rangers, for all intents and purposes, got Tim Erixon for two 2nd round draft picks.  Erixon, had he re-entered the draft, would have been a top-10 pick in this weak draft.  While some may argue where he would have been selected, he would not have fallen to the Rangers at #15, that’s for sure.  When removing names from the deal, the Rangers essentially traded the 45th and 57th picks for a top-10 selection in this year’s draft.

Even if you want to say that Horak could have fetched a third round pick (which is a big reach), then the Rangers traded two 2nd round picks and a third round pick for a top-10 pick and a 5th round pick.  This is a steal of epic proportions, possibly on the level of Scott Gomez for Ryan McDonagh.  No wonder Calgary fans are angry.

Rangers Acquire (And Sign) Tim Erixon From Calgary

In a bit of shocking news, the Rangers have acquired Tim Erixon and a 2011 5th round pick from Calgary in exchange for Roman Horak and two 2011 second round picks.  Erixon, Calgary’s first round pick in 2009 (23rd overall), had until 5pm today to reach an agreement on an entry level deal with the Flames.  Calgary, realizing that a deal could not be reached, dealt the 20 year old defenseman to the Rangers around 4pm.  If Calgary did not make this trade, they would have received the #53 overall pick as compensation for not signing Erixon.  The #53 pick set market value for Erixon, even if he would have been an instant top-10 pick in this draft due to the lack of depth in this year’s class.

Erixon is 6’2″ and 190 lbs.  He completed his second season in the Swedish Elite Leagues, finishing with a line of 5-19-24 in 48 games.  In the playoffs, he finished with a line 3-5-8 in 18 games.  The name might sound familiar, as he is former Ranger Jan Erixon’s son.  Erixon projects out to be a top-four defenseman, who is a fluid skater and just smooth in almost every aspect of the game.  He won’t stand out, but as a defenseman, that’s probably a good thing.  He could chip in offensively too, as the SEL is a notoriously low scoring league.

The Rangers have until 5pm to sign Erixon, or they get nothing in return as compensation.  Expect a deal to be announced shortly.

Update 4:03pm – Erixon has been signed to an entry level deal.

Update 4:20pm – Press release is after the jump

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