With the National Hockey League roster freeze upon us, we can see some teams trying to find some solutions and bringing in players to their roster. Meanwhile, other teams choose to add to an already bright future.
What do I mean you ask? Let me answer that for you.
Today the Phoenix Coyotes were able to solidify a spot on their blue line by signing free agent veteran blue liner Anders Eriksson to finish out the rest of the year (barring injury) with the big club.
In order to fit Eriksson in to the mix, the Coyotes subsequently assigned David Schlemko to the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage.
Eriksson scored a goal and chipped in two assists in his eight games with San Antonio. Previous to this year, he has appeared in 552 NHL games with six teams, compiling 22 goals and 149 assists over parts of 11 seasons.
With the Coyotes excellent start to the season, it seems to me that they feel the playoffs are a reality. By signing Eriksson, the team adds another veteran to the blue line, one which already accommodates Ed Jovanovski, Adrian Aucoin and James Vandermeer.
Schlemko potted a goal and while assisting on four more in 17 games with Phoenix. His demotion is not an indication of poor play, but rather a move that makes a little more sense for the organization in hopes of moving forward this season. By adding Eriksson, Dave Tippett and company have an added comfort level with this signing. The veteran d-man proved himself capable enough to still crack it with the big boys with his adequate stint with San Antonio.
In other news, the Los Angeles Kings were able to reach an agreement, in principal, with free agent defenseman Jacob Muzzin of the OHL over the weekend. The signing will not be official until after January 1st, 2010 and Muzzin passes a physical. Muzzin, an OHL overager who plays for Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, leads the league with 41 points in 34 games this season.
An original first-round pick in the OHL, Muzzin missed his entire first year of junior eligibility due to lengthy recovery to back surgery. Although drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2007, he was not signed this past offseason or drafted by anyone else in the following draft, becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Signing Muzzin adds to the youthful core of the Los Angeles Kings. Already with puck moving d-men like Randy Jones, Jack Johnson, Drew Doughty with the team and youngsters Colten Teubert, Viatcheslav Voynov, Thomas Hickey, Alec Martinez and Davis Drewiske in the system GM Dean Lombardi set himself up to have an abundance of trading chips as well as a bright future for the Kings blue line.
Development is now the key word in Kings land. If all goes well, Lombardi in this reporter’s opinion is pure genius.
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