Update: 2:30PM: The Rangers announce the move via press release and send Stu Bickel to Hartford.
Update: 1:06PM: Larry Brooks says that Woywitka is expected to join the team in Stockholm tomorrow but will only play this weekend in case of an emergency.
Original Post: The Rangers have announced that they have claimed defenseman Jeff Woywitka off of waivers from the Montreal Canadiens.
Woywitka, 28, has a cap hit of $650,000 and is signed to a two-way contract. He makes $105,000 in the AHL.
He signed with Montreal on August 15th.
He is 6-3, 227 and has played three games against the Rangers in his career, once at Madison Square Garden.
Woywitka had 43 hits and 72 blocked shots last season. He averaged 17:56 per game last season. He had 3 goals and 15 assists for the Blues in 2008-09. Since his rookie season he has averaged between 14 and 18 minutes a night.
In Dallas last season, he impressed coach Marc Crawford:
“He’s done exactly what you want him to do. He’s taken advantage of an opportunity and he’s performed very well. That’s a great sign from any player, and I definitely think that he has gotten more comfortable playing every game.”
Leslie Treff writes that Woywitka is unlikely to lose games for the Rangers.
He played for Canada at the World Junior championships in 2002-03. Dating back to his time in the WHL, he has 33 career fights.
He was a 2001 first round pick of the Flyers.
This is your cheap veteran pick up for the Rangers. No Paul Mara and this should see Tim Erixon and Stu Bickel being sent down after the weekend. I think that Brendan Bell will stay up as the seventh defenseman. He WON”T be heading to Europe and instead will meet up with the team when they return home. As Dan Rosen notes, since he has a two-way contract, he could be assigned to Hartford and then recalled when they come home.
RANGERS CLAIM DEFENSEMAN JEFF WOYWITKA
Defenseman Stu Bickel Assigned to Connecticut
New York, October 6, 2011 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the team has claimed defenseman Jeff Woywitka off waivers from the Montreal Canadiens. In addition, defenseman Stu Bickel has been assigned to Connecticut of the American Hockey League (AHL).
Woywitka, 28, is a former first round draft pick, selected 27th overall by Philadelphia in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Last season, he registered two goals and nine assists for 11 points, along with 24 penalty minutes in 63 games with the Dallas Stars. Woywitka tallied two multi-point performances, the first two of his career, on March 9 vs. Calgary (two assists) and April 3 at Anaheim (one goal, one assist). He also recorded three assists in a five-game span from November 24 at Ottawa to December 2 vs. Washington.
The 6-3, 227-pounder has skated in 251 career regular season games over six seasons with the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars, registering eight goals and 41 assists for 49 points, along with 141 penalty minutes. Woywitka established career-highs in games played (65), goals (three), assists (15), points (18), game-winning goals (one), penalty minutes (57), shots on goal (71) and plus/minus rating (plus-eight) during the 2008-09 season as a member of the Blues. The Vermilion, Alberta native made his NHL debut on October 6, 2005 vs. Detroit, and registered his first career NHL point with an assist on March 23, 2006 vs. Calgary.
The Rangers will begin their 2011-12 regular season schedule tomorrow, October 7 vs. the Los Angeles Kings at Stockholm, Sweden (1:00 p.m. ET), as part of the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere.