The questions about whether Ilkka Heikkinen will be back next year have been answered, and that answer is no. Heikkinen has signed with Sibir Novosibirsk of the KHL. The Finnish defenseman played seven games with the Rangers, finishing with a +2 rating. In 72 games with Hartford, Heikkinen put together a line of 8-30-38, which was tied for tops amongst Wolfpack defensemen. This signing should come as no surprise, as Heikkinen has expressed displeasure with the Rangers. The Rangers also refused to give Heikkinen a one-way contract, which would have guaranteed his NHL salary, even if playing in the AHL.
Heikkinen also granted an interview with Maria Levinskaya, and a full translation of the interview can be found at Beyond the Blueshirts.
Matt Gilroy has been called up to the Rangers after his stint in Hartford. He will be the sixth defenseman, replacing the recently sent down Ilkka Heikkinen and Bobby Sanguinetti. This isn’t really a surprise, as Heikkinen and Sanguinetti didn’t play much in yesterday’s game against the Flyers.
This again leaves the Rangers with just six defenseman and 14 forwards.
The Rangers made two moves today, one surprising, the other expected. The first, was sending Matt Gilroy down to Hartford. They kept Ilkka Heikkinen up. I don’t get it. Honestly, I thought Gilroy has been one of our best defenseman all year. He had a bad game against Chicago, but so did Rosival, and everyone else. I would have preferred to see Rosy sent down, or even Girardi. I don’t get it. If it’s a message, I think it’s a wrong one. Gilroy has been great all year. One bad game, and he’s in Hartford. Don’t get it.
The second move was sending goalie Chad Johnson down to Hartford. This is just to get him some extra work. Matt Zaba was called up as the backup for the Saturday game against Buffalo. Hartford has a bunch of games coming up, so he can get work. I still think the Rangers need to get a NHL caliber backup.
What’s your thoughts on the Gilroy move? Since the move does save some cap room, is there another one on the way?
Courtesy of Blueshirt Banter, who consolidated all of the beat writers’ twitter updates, Artem Anisimov is finally getting his shot between Vinny Prospal and Marian Gaborik on the top line. I expect fantastic results from him. Erik Christensen is centering the third line between Chris Higgins and Ales Kotalik.
Also, to most people’s surprise, Steve Valliquette cleared waivers. Chad Johnson has been recalled.
Update 4:15pm: As per user dbmaven from Blueshirt Banter (and Jordan from here at BSB), defenseman Ilkka Heikkinen has been recalled. Wade Redden will not be ready for the game against Buffalo on Saturday.
In other news, the Rangers signed Finnish defenseman Ilkka Heikkinen to an NHL contract. According to posts on the HFBoards, which are surprisingly reliable, Heikkinen, who will have his name mispronounced and misspelled many times, is an offensive defensman who was third in the Finnish league in points amongst defensemen. He also likes to fight.
I don’t really know if another defenseman is what the Rangers need right now, but I guess it can’t hurt. His money won’t count against the cap unless he makes the team. And if he makes the team, then that will already be more than anyone expects for next year.
Off topic, how soon until someone calls this kid Heineken?