SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- In a sense, Tim Erixon fits the mold of many Swedish hockey players. He's quiet, extremely intelligent, and possesses the unflappable demeanor that has befitted countless countrymen before him.
But his acquisition over the summer brings a unique element to both the Blue Jackets and the Springfield Falcons.
He is experienced yet green, a combination that makes him a perfect fit with the Falcons and a group of defensemen that all have bright pro futures ahead of them. As training camp wound down last week, the 21-year-old Erixon was one of 10 blueliners to crack the club's final roster, despite not playing a preseason game.
Not many players can say they were so fortunate, but Erixon's body of work (especially at the AHL level) ensures that he will be relied upon heavily at both ends of the rink.
In 52 games last season with Connecticut - a major rival of his new club in Springfield - Erixon was one of the top minute-eaters on defense and logged ice time in all situations.
When the Blue Jackets secured Erixon as part of a multi-player deal with the New York Rangers, they knew they were not only adding to a strong mix on defense at the NHL level, but also a player who could be a pillar on the back end for Springfield.
"I know Timmy pretty well," Larsen said with a laugh, hinting at the rivalry between the two clubs. "He was a horse for them. He's a smooth-skating defenseman that makes really good puck decisions and he brings a lot of poise on the back end.
"He's a better defender than I think he gets credit for, too. He's a quiet guy -- a quiet competitor but also a very passionate player."
The versatility that Erixon brings to the table also gives Larsen options. Springfield's first-year head coach will rely on both the familiarity he has with Erixon and the player's competitive spirit to stabilize the back end.
"He brings a lot of energy and he's a guy that can log a lot of minutes for us," Larsen said. "I expect him to play some power play time and play against top players on the other team."
Erixon has fit in right away. Prior to departing for Springfield, he flew from his hometown in Sweden and spent a week living with Ryan Johansen in Columbus while working out and getting to know his new teammates.
It was an experience that helped in the transition to a new organization, and now that he's settling in with the Falcons, Erixon is thrilled about the opportunity presented to him.
"I'm so excited," Erixon told BlueJackets.com. "I'm ready to get back out there with my new teammates. We had a really good camp, and though I had a little bump in the road with an injury, I'm all set to go now and I'm looking forward to it."
A natural left-side defenseman, Erixon will pair with Falcons "vet" Cody Goloubef when the puck drops later tonight. It makes for an intriguing pairing, as both players are exceptional skaters and make quick decisions to move the puck out of trouble.
Erixon said he had no issues jumping in head-first in his Springfield debut, and welcomes the task of being one of the team's task masters on blue line.
"Playing with (Goloubef) has been really good so far," Erixon said. "We work well together. We've only had a couple of practices together but I'm anxious to get out there with him.
"It's mostly excitement...I'm really ready to get this thing started."