According to multiple reports, the Rangers have placed backup goaltender Steve Valiquette on waivers, in hopes of him being assigned to Hartford to regain form.
Hartford Wolf Pack goalie Chad Johnson is being recalled to fill his spot.
Due to cap implications, the Rangers were unable to claim Ducks' forward Erik Christensen and keep Valiquette on the roster.
As Blueshirt Bulletin contributor and Newsday beat writer Steve Zipay writes, Valiquette could not be assigned on a conditioning stint because his salary would have remainined on payroll and put the Rangers over the cap with the Christensen signing.
With Donald Brashear nursing injuries, the Rangers claimed the 25 year old Christensen to add some grit and a little you to their bottom six forwards.
Christensen, at 6' 1" and 205 pounds, has also shown the ability to help offensively. In 226 career NHL games, he has scored 42 goals.
Some further analysis.
Readers have presented a fair point, why not waive a player like Michal Rozsival, who has struggled and has a mighty $5 million cap hit, rather than Valiquette?
In all likelihood, Valiquette would be claimed on re-entry from Hartford, if he even makes it down. That would put the Rangers on the hook for $500,000 and leave them without a viable backup goaltender.
Consider also that with the Winter Olympics on hand, it is even more important to have a capable backup.
Realistically, the Rangers cannot afford to send Rozsival down because they simply have nobody to replace him. Bobby Sanguinetti, who played OK in his three-game stint, still needs a lot of work in his skating and is not yet ready for full time duty.
As for players like Mike Sauer and Corey Potter, they may be able to fill a bottom-pairing role, but may not be a tremendous upgrade over a player like Rozsival.
What would make more sense is a player like Donald Brashear, who is currently battling injuries and has not yet established himself as a regular forward for this group, to be waived. Granted, he has a physical presence and will drop the gloves, but in reality, his $1.4 million contract isn't worth that.
A player like Aaron Voros would also make sense rather than a backup goaltender.
Chances are, there are more moves coming. This group needs to be shaken up and sending down a popular locker room guy like Valiquette, is not going to remedy it.
On newcomer Erik Christensen, see the official Rangers release below:
ERIK CHRISTENSEN OFF WAIVERS
York, December 2, 2009 – New York Rangers President and
General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has acquired forward
Erik Christensen off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks.
Christensen, 25, has appeared in nine games with Anaheim this season.
Last season, he skated in 64 games with Anaheim and the Atlanta Thrashers,
registering seven goals and 21 assists for 28 points, along with 20 penalty
minutes. His 21 assists marked a new career-high. He recorded five
multi-point efforts on the season, including four two-assist
performances. Christensen ranked second on Atlanta in faceoff percentage,
posting a 54.6% (233-427) success rate, at the time of his trade to Anaheim on
March 4. He also tallied two assists in eight playoff contests,
collecting his first career post-season point in Game Two of the Western
Conference Quarterfinal matchup at San Jose on April 19.
veteran of five NHL seasons, Christensen skated in his 200th NHL game on March
3, 2009 against Florida. He established career-highs in goals (18) and
points (33) while skating with the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2006-07
season. Christensen tied for the NHL lead with eight shootout goals that
season, converting at a 57.1% (8-14) success rate in the shootout. He
also set a new career-high for points in a game with two, three-point efforts –
January 16 against NY Islanders (two goals and one assist) and March 29 at
Boston (two goals and one assist) – and posted a career-high, three-game
goal-scoring streak from December 1 to December 5 (three goals).
6-1, 203-pounder has appeared in 226 career NHL games with the Pittsburgh
Penguins, Atlanta Thrashers and Anaheim Ducks, registering 42 goals and 56
assists for 98 points, along with 112 penalty minutes. Christensen made
his NHL debut on November 1, 2005 at New Jersey, and he notched his first NHL
goal in his second game on November 3 against the NY Islanders. In
addition, Christensen has recorded two assists and six penalty minutes in 12
career playoff contests with Pittsburgh and Anaheim.
to turning professional, Christensen spent four seasons with the Kamloops
Blazers and Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL), registering
133 goals and 153 assists for 286 points, along with 265 penalty minutes in 338
games. In 2002-03, he captured the Bob Clarke Trophy as the WHL’s leading
scorer with 108 points (54 goals and 54 assists) in 67 games with
Kamloops. He also appeared in 29 WHL post-season contests with Kamloops
and Brandon, tallying 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points, along with 28
native of Edmonton, Alberta was originally selected as the Pittsburgh Penguins
third round draft choice, 69th overall, in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.