On Sunday night, when the Columbus Blue Jackets recalled Tim Erixon from Springfield, most thought he would finally get his chance to crack the Blue Jackets roster. Dalton Prout was unable to go due to back spasms and Erixon was the leading scorer for Springfield. Why would the CBJ call up their best AHLer only to have him sit in the press box as an insurance policy? Well, that is exactly what the Jackets have done.
Whether it was to give Tuesday night’s lineup a shot at redemption after the embarrassing loss to Edmonton, Coach Todd Richards went with the same lines last night against Calgary. The defense did perform somewhat better against Calgary, but some gaffes did lead to Calgary scoring chances. It was a Jack Johnson mistake that lead to Calgary’s lone goal. Game winning goal aside, Nikita Nikitin has not been stellar lately. However, with his OT heroics last night, there is little chance he will be sat down in favor of Erixon.
So now the Jackets are left in the situation where one of their better defensive prospects is left watching from the stands. If that is the case, send Erixon back to the AHL. There is not much more he can learn about being an NHL defenseman from the press box. Sure, practicing with the team could assist in his development, but which one is better, NHL practices, or AHL game experience?
Another consideration is that the Springfield Falcons are tied for first with the Albany Devils in the AHLs Northeast Division. While the needs of the Blue Jackets take priority, would it not be better for the Falcons to have their best defenseman / leading scorer? If all the Jackets need is an insurance policy in the press box, call up someone else. Right now they are robbing the Falcons of their best offensive weapon, and not utilizing him in their lineup.
We will see if Erixon gets his shot on Friday, but with Todd Richards trying to build some consistency with the Jackets lineup, I don’t see him sitting someone to get Erixon in the lineup. Therefore, the Jackets may just be better off sending Erixon down until they are absolutely ready for him to play.
What do you think? Are the Jackets mismanaging Tim Erixon‘s development? Would he not be better off in the AHL, actually getting game experience?