According to the Connecticut Whale’s facebook page, the New York Rangers have sent defensemen Tim Erixon down to the Connecticut Whale. Erixon’s third stint with the Rangers this season lasted five games and he notched the first two points of his NHL career, both assists. Erixon had been a healthy scratch the last couple of games as John Tortorella decided to put another Swede, Anton Stralman, back into the lineup.
Tortorella decided to bring Tim Erixon up largely because he was unhappy with the play of Anton Stralman. The demotion seemed to light a fire under Stralman as his two games since returning to the lineup were much better. Though not completely consistent, Stralman has shown that he can be relied on regularly to play 15-20 minutes every night; something that Tortorella didn’t seem comfortable doing with Erixon. And I think Tortorella feels that Stralman is more ready at this time to be a part of the team going into the playoffs.
Just as his second stint with the Rangers was an improvement on his first, Erixon seemed a much more comfortable and confident player in his five games. He specifically was more aggressive offensively and Tortorella even rewarded him with some power play time. Especially with Steve Eminger still injured, Erixon figures to be next in line should any of our top-six defensemen get injured or if Bickel or Stralman’s play becomes unsatisfactory. So perhaps we haven’t seen the last of Erixon this season. As with most defensemen, patience is going to be necessary with Erixon, but it’s clear to me that he has a bright future in the NHL and perhaps will be a fixture in the Rangers’ lineup as soon as next season.