BUFFALO NY - DECEMBER 28: Filip Novotny #1 of the Czech Republic reaches out for the puck as Roman Horak #23 and Jakub Jerabek #12 defend against Ryan Johansen #19 of Canada during the 2011 IIHF World U20 Championship game between Canada and Czech Republic on December 28 2010 in Buffalo New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
In the climactic conclusion to Erixongate, the Calgary Flames traded the rights of Tim Erixon to the New York Rangers an hour before they expired and he returned to the draft. Erixon has signed an Entry Level Contract with the New York Rangers.
It's hard to say why this happened- but it's clear that the Flames tried to sign Erixon. The problem is that they waited until the last minute to do so and received minimal return. The two picks are 43rd and 57th overall, so they're not terrible, and it's certainly better than letting him go for the compensatory pick.
After the jump: why this is still a monumental failure, what it says about MGMT, and who the heck is Roman Horak anyways?
Regardless of getting a "better" return, the Flames should've seen this coming a ways off and aimed a bit higher a bit earlier, rather than waiting until any interested team held all the cards.
As important as signing Curtis Glencross was, signing Erixon, or at least determining if he'd sign, should have been far more important. This shows a serious inability to properly prioritize, especially given the deadline on Erixon was a solid month ahead of that on Glencross. The only way this trade results in positives is if the picks or something are used to trade up into the top-8 or so of the NHL entry draft.
This situation strikes me as very similar to the Phaneuf trade. Sure Dion was an established player, the GM pulling the trigger was different (in some respects), and there was a deadline in regards to keeping Erixon in the fold, but both moves came in the form of sudden, panicked deals with a team with little to offer in return rather than taking time to evaluate the situation, consider all possible options, and attempt to secure the best possible gains in the deal.
Like the Phaneuf trade, many questions remain here. Why did Feaster wait until the last minute to try and get Erixon under contract? Was he aware there was a deadline? Why was there no confirmation that Erixon did indeed want to remain in the Flames' system even if he wasn't guaranteed an full-time NHL gig next season? Unless he was stringing the team along, which I doubt, Feaster/King must have known that they may not be able to retain him and thus, would have began exploring other options earlier.
The whole situation is immensely frustrating, disappointing, and disheartening. The Flames lose their best prospect by a mile and get a little-known player with a career fourth-line ceiling and two "maybes" in the form of second-round draft picks. The last time the Flames drafted a second-round pick that accomplished anything in the NHL was the year 2000. Those picks were Kurtis Foster and Jared Stoll, neither of whom are still with the team and both of whom have built respectable NHL careers. Stoll perhaps more so than Foster, but the latter's recovery from a severe injury and the death of his infant daughter are pretty inspiring, and it's a safe bet that he's still better than Steve Staios. To add insult to injury, both of those former second round picks were or currently are employed by the Edmonton Oilers.
Like Arik said, unless Feaster flips the return from this trade into a top pick in the Draft, he screwed up royally on this one.
I'm reading between the lines on this situation. I take Feaster's Radio Interview at face value. The Flames put the max on the table for Erixon. Max dollars, option to Europe etc, they did everything they could to sign him and fully intended to. He didn't want to play for the Flames, simple at that.
I think there is a temptation to blow this out of proportion and take the hollow excuses that Erixon's camp provided at face vale. I don't think they were ever negotiating in good faith. I think for every offer that Feaster made, they offered another excuse and every step of the way he never intended to play for the Flames. In fact he only ever wanted to play for the Rangers.
In short folks what we have here is a case of "Lindros Lite" but it wasn't in the media, it was kept in the boardroom. It just looks too sketchy, just a little too convenient that the team he is traded to is the same one his Dad, Jan Erixon spent his whole career playing for.
Strictly from a hockey analysis perspective you can not analyze this trade as a win for the Flames aside from getting rid of a young player who clearly has an attitude and sense of entitlement before he has even proven himself a star on NHL ice, the sad part is that he just may end up doing that.
I view this particular situation in isolation, the tempest in the teacup. It was a bad egg, or a bad BIG Apple, a player who simply does not want to play for you is a GM's nightmare, you are in a desperation situation. Feaster did the best he could with it and if the hockey gods are watching, hopefully Horak will evolve into a regular 3rd line player and one of those 2nd round picks will turn into gold.
I don't wish this situation onto any team in the NHL.