The year that was…
Tim Erixon had a strong campaign for the AHL’s Springfield Falcons, putting up five goals and 38 points in 40 games and earning a new one-year contract from the Blue Jackets.
Erixon only appeared in two games for the Jackets last year, and in the 33 games he’s played for Columbus since being acquired in the Rick Nash trade, Erixon has five assists and has yet to assert himself as an everyday NHLer - but he looks poised to take on a larger role in 2014-15.
His one-way deal this summer was a vote of confidence from management and Erixon shook off an injury early in camp, playing well in his two exhibition appearances (as of Sept. 29) alongside James Wisniewski.
Where is he now?
Erixon will come into camp in a unique situation. David Savard’s strong performance in 2013-14 could land him a spot on a pairing with Jack Johnson, leaving Erixon with an opportunity in this training camp to earn one of the final spots on defense.
Erixon will need a strong camp and will need to take a lesson from Savard, who got some tough love from Jackets management after the lockout-shortened season and came to camp in tremendous shape. He will need to amp up the physical aspect of his game and be a consistent, reliable guy on the back end.
It’s a big season for Erixon and there’s no disputing that.
As a highly regarded first-round pick, he’s got the raw ability and hockey sense to play in the NHL. Young defensemen take time to develop, but it is time for Erixon to start showing signs of progress and assert himself a spot on the Columbus blue line.
The Blue Jackets knew they were getting a talented player when they acquired Erixon as part of that blockbuster trade in 2012, and they were willing to be patient as he continued to grow and develop as a young defenseman. Now, they’d like to see the fruits of his labor after another summer of intense training, working to build up his strength and power.