Thu 4 Mar 2010
The New York Rangers finished business on the NHLâ€™s Trade Deadline Day by making a second minor deal. The Blueshirts traded goaltender Miika Wiikman and a 2011 seventh round draft pick to Don Maloney and the deadline day busy Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for veteran defenseman Anders Eriksson. Truth be told, the draft pick might be the biggest piece of this deal.
The Rangers are the eighth NHL team for the 35-year-old Eriksson. In addition to New York, he has had stops in Detroit, Chicago, Florida, Toronto, Columbus and Phoenix. He has appeared in 552 NHL games and scored 22 goals and 149 assists with 240 PIM. In addition, the 6-foor-3 and 224 pound blueliner has 36 playoff games under his belt â€“ including a Stanley Cup championship with Detroit in 1998. Eriksson was the Red Wings first round draft pick (22nd overall) in 1993.
This season, Eriksson has bounced between Phoenix and the San Antonio Rampage in the AHL. In 12 games with the Coyotes, Eriksson tallied three assists and two PIM. In 10 games with the Rampage, he scored a goal and three assists with a pair of PIM. His scouting report, courtesy of The Star.com is listed below.
Eriksson was assigned to Hartford by the Rangers and adds depth to a Wolf Pack team that has been hard hit with injuries on defense. The addition of Eriksson and Kris Newbury, ironically a pair of former Red Wings, will help boost the Wolf Packâ€™s attempt at making the playoffs. Eriksson might figure into the Rangers playoff roster if they are lucky enough to make the playoffs.
Eriksson has the opportunity be reunited with four former teammates: Olli Jokinen (Florida â€“ 2000/2001 and Calgary â€“ 2008/2009), Vinny Prospal (Florida â€“ 2000/2001, Brandon Prust (Calgary â€“ 2008/2009), and Jody Shelley (2003/2004, 2006/2007 â€“ Columbus).
As for Wiikman, the trade gives him a chance at a new start. The Finnish netminder had fallen behind Chad Johnson, Matt Zaba and even Stephen Valiquette on the professional depth chart as he has been assigned to the Charlotte Checkers of the ECHL. When you factor in Rangers 2009 draft pick Scott Stajcer, there was no room in the crease for Wiikman.
ASSETS: Has good mobility for his impressive size. Can quickly move the puck up ice. Owns a wealth of savvy and experience.
FLAWS: Doesn’t use his big body effectively enough. Can at times make costly errors in the defensive zone that hurt his team.
CAREER POTENTIAL: Puck-moving defenseman.
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