2009 prospects: Tim Erixon

By Holly Gunning

Tim Erixon is so humble and innocent-looking off the ice with his bright blue eyes that you wouldn’t imagine he’s so dangerous on the ice.

He’s the son of NHL veteran Jan Erixon, born in Port Chester, NY while his dad played for the Rangers. Having started skating at age 2 or 3 and grown up with dad coaching him along the way, Tim said it’s been his dream to play in the NHL himself since he was a little kid. Born close to the end of his dad’s NHL career, Tim knows his dad as a player only on videotapes. Jan was a defensive forward, while Tim is a more offensive defenseman. Maybe Jan would leaned more towards defense too if he had the extra two inches of height his son has.

Tim is likely to be a first-round pick in the upcoming draft. He’s now ranked 55th overall by ISS, and No. 5 among European Skaters by Central Scouting. That’s a large discrepancy. But his accomplishments are impressive.

In the regular season, Erixon played 45 games at the top level in Sweden, the Elitserien, and just 10 games with the juniors. He had seven points and was +5 with the seniors.

Team Sweden U18 coach Stephan Lundh had all good things to say about Erixon.

"He’s very mature and took a big step forward this year. He wasn’t with us last year for the U18."

Lundh compared the 6’2, 190-pound Erixon to the thinner id=”HFlink” href=”/prospects/oliver_ekman larsson”>Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who is also rated highly for the draft.

"They’re pretty close to the same," Lundh said. "Tim is better on defense because he’s a little bit bigger and has a good reach. They have the same skills offensively, are very good at the blue line and have a good shot too."

Erixon was part of the 2009 silver medal-winning Swedish WJC team. He didn’t score in five games in that tournament, saving all his offense for the U18s. He finished the U18s with three goals and six assists in six games. It was the most goals and points by a defenseman in the tournament and placed him on the All-Star team.

Hockey’s Future spoke to Erixon during the U18s.

HF: How do you feel about playing defense on the smaller rink?
TE: I like the smaller rink, it’s not as much space to defend and on the power play at the point you have more space and can get more slap shots.

HF: Do you feel like you have to be more cautious during the tournament than at home? Play more defensively?
TE: I have a different role with my club at home. I have to take more responsibility here and I like it.

HF: In other words, you do play more cautiously?
TE: Yeah, I think so.

HF: How do you like playing with Adam Larsson (2011-eligible) as your partner?
TE: He’s from the same city (Skelleftea) and he’s a great guy. We talk on the ice and obviously he’s a great D.

HF: You’ve known him since you were small then?
TE: Yeah, he’s played on my team for at least like four or five years.

HF: Who’s more offensive, you or him?
TE: It’s a tough question. I look at myself like an all-around defenseman, two-way. You have to ask Adam about this style, I don’t want to talk about him (laughs).

HF: Do you think your best feature is your shot or your skating?
TE: I would say my hockey sense is my best skill.

HF: And what do you need to work on?
TE: Get more explosive I think in my first few strokes skating.

HF: You look l ike you’re filled out a bit, you’re not too skinny.
TE: Yeah, I’ve got some muscle this season. I worked on it.

HF: Have you talked to many NHL teams for the draft?
TE: Yeah, I talked to a couple.

HF: Just a couple?
TE: Twelve maybe.

HF: You played all year in the Elitserien. Were you surprised that you stayed there?
TE: Yeah, a little bit. Coming into the season I didn’t have a contract or anything, I was just looking forward to playing with the juniors. I played a couple games and practices and it felt great and I got a contract and played the whole season.

HF: Did you see any power-play time there?
TE: Not so much. I got some on the power play, but actually I got more shorthanded ice time.

HF: Who’s your favorite NHL player?
TE: Nik Lidstrom, without a question (laughs)

HF: Do you get to see many NHL games in Sweden?
TE: Yeah, we do. I watch quite a few games.

HF: What has been the worst injury of your career?
TE: Nothing too serious. I had a problem with my back. I grew fast two seasons ago and had a problem with my back. That’s the only thing.