Flames fail to sign 2009 first round pick Tim Erixon, deal him to Rangers

It’s safe to say that Flames GM Jay Feaster isn’t endearing himself to many Flames fans today. Calgary has been attempting to negotiate an entry level contract with 2009 first round pick Tim Erixon since he was picked in June 2009. The Flames had to get a deal done and signed with Erixon by 5 p.m. ET today or else Erixon would’ve been able to re-enter this year’s NHL Draft.

With Feaster unable to work out a deal and looking to get more than the one second round pick compensation the Flames would have received had Erixon re-entered the draft, Erixon was traded to the New York Rangers along with a fifth round pick in exchange for prospect Roman Horak and two second round picks.

Erixon was rated as Calgary’s top prospect by Hockey’s Future and as a defenseman at 6’2″ 190 he’s a physical kid with the ability to move the puck as well. He’s got NHL roots as his father is former New York Rangers forward Jan Erixon. For the Rangers it works out to be a potential steal yet again on defense for an organization already loaded up with good prospect depth on the blue line.

They were able to get former Montreal first round pick Ryan McDonagh from Montreal in the Scott Gomez deal and now with Erixon in the fold the Rangers new plan of building with talented youth gets even better. At 20 years-old there’s the chance that Erixon starts next year with the Rangers out of training camp. That possibility and high ceiling for him is a good reason why Flames fans are furious about this severe lack of ability to get what should’ve been a basic deal done. In this situation the Flames’ poor salary cap management might be to blame.

With the possibility of bonuses factored in and the likely wont by Erixon to be a part of the big club right away, his deal would’ve been pricey for the Flames to add. According to CapGeek the Flames are alreaday at $55 million against the cap for next season. A deal with Erixon would’ve added anywhere from $2 to $3 million per year on his entry level contract. Even with the cap supposedly slated to go up next season, the Flames would’ve been left with little cap space and the need to get a few more players signed. It’s not a good position to be in but for Feaster if the choice broke down to deciding to sign a top prospect or continuing to  manage toxic assets and he chose the latter, that’s pretty inexcusable especially for an organization severely lacking top end prospect depth.

If Erixon pans out at all this is a runaway victory of a deal for the Rangers. The best the Flames can hope for is that they find some great picks in the second round of the draft and that Horak becomes a NHL starter. We know he was under the gun to get a deal done with the deadline being today, but this shapes up to be a very poor deal on paper for Calgary and one that will send Flames fans into a frustrated tizzy over.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.

Leafs pass Bruins for third in Atlantic after gutsy win against Columbus

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It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.

Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:

Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games

This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.

The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.

This game was all about William Nylander‘s brilliant start:

And also Toronto surviving a long penalty kill after that Polak hit:

Nazem Kadri‘s 30th goal really put the game out of reach, helping Toronto nab a significant victory.

The Blue Jackets can wallow in this defeat and Oliver Bjorkstrand‘s injury, either, as they turn around to face the Washington Capitals in a big one tomorrow.