Flames swap prospects, picks with Rangers
STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency
CALGARY - By all accounts, defenceman Tim Erixon was set to become a star with the Calgary Flames.
But the big, mobile Swede drafted 23rd overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft never even signed.
And with time ticking down on Wednesday's deadline to lock up all their draft picks from two springs ago, the Flames were forced to make a deal.
"Once we realized we weren't able to come to terms with Tim Erixon, we wanted to make sure we turned that pick into an asset." said GM Jay Feaster.
He turned one of the best prospects in the Flames stable into a decent return, dealing 20-year-old Erixon's rights and a fifth-round pick to the New York Rangers for a pair of second-round selections later this month in addition to centre Roman Horak, who the Rangers drafted in the fifth round in '09.
"We're excited to get a player of Roman's caliber in addition to landing two second-round picks in the upcoming draft." Feaster said.
The Rangers quickly signed Erixon to an entry-level contract. He would have gone back in the draft if he wasn't signed by 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Losing a top prospect like Erixon — who clearly wanted to follow in dad Jan Erixon's footsteps and play for the Rangers — is a blow to a team short on high-quality youngsters no matter how you spin the situation.
Horak, also 20, played on the same line as Ryan Howse, the Flames' second-round pick from 2009, with the WHL's Chilliwack Bruins last season, and posted a career-high 26 goals along with 78 points.
There's potential there, and the pair of second-round picks replenishes what was a real bare cupboard for this month's draft, but the Rangers scored the best player in this deal.
Erixon netted five goals and 24 points in 48 games in the Swedish Elite league and won a silver medal in the world championship in Slovakia, and is touted as a blueliner who should have an impact in North America this year.
It just won't be with the Flames.