Earlier this week, the Whale added two players to their roster to help fill some depth holes in the lineup. First, they recalled defenseman Jyri Niemi from the ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors. Second, they signed forward Michael Pelech to a PTO.
Niemi was initially sent to Greenville on December 28. In 14 games, Niemi had a line of 1-5-6, 34 PIMs, and a +8 rating. Prior to his ECHL stint, Niemi played five games with the Whale without netting a point.
Pelech is a fourth year pro, playing 249 career ECHL games with a line of 46-119-165 with 432 PIMs. He has played nine career AHL games, notching an assist.
Before yesterday’s win against Springfield, the Whale made two roster moves to shore up the defense by sending by sending both Jyri Niemi and Steven Delisle to the ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors.
Niemi has been injured for the past 18 games. In his first five games suiting up, Niemi was held scoreless with five PIMs. Delisle, who was called up on December 18, notched two assists and six PIMs in four games.
Before Friday’s draft it’s a good idea to take stock of what the Rangers already have in the system. If New York follows suit, then the Blueshirts will pick the best player available regardless of position. However, it’s worth evaluating where the team’s strengths lie. Kevin evaluated the forwards, so let’s look at the defense.
Erixon has been met with a lot of hype since the Rangers stole him (along with what turned out to be Shane McColgan) from Calgary for two second round picks and Roman Horak last year. After two successful seasons with Skelleftea HC in the SEL, Erixon came over to the NHL and was expected to make the club without any time in the AHL, which is exactly what happened. That said, Erixon struggled during his first NHL stint in October, finishing with no points and a -3 rating in nine games before being sent to the Connecticut Whale. Those nine games would be Erixon’s longest stint with the big club, but all was not lost. Erixon dominated the AHL, finishing with 33 points (3-30-33) in 42 games). The Swede is as NHL ready as you can get. Barring a major setback, he should be a Ranger next fall.
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JYRI NIEMI REASSIGNED TO GREENVILLE
Defenseman has one assist in Eight Games for Whale this Season
HARTFORD, November 9, 2011: Connecticut Whale general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the parent New York Rangers have reassigned defenseman Jyri Niemi from the Whale to its ECHL affiliate, the Greenville Road Warriors.
Niemi, a Finnish-born second-year pro, has skated in eight games for the Whale this season, registering one assist, four penalty minutes and a +1 rating. Last season with the Whale, Niemi chalked up three goals and six assists for nine points, along with 22 PIM, in 46 games. A third-round draft pick (72nd overall) by the New York Islanders in 2008 out of the Western Hockey League, Niemi was acquired by the Rangers from the Islanders May 25, 2010, in exchange for a sixth-round 2010 draft pick.
The Whale return to action this Saturday, November 12, in the first of back-to-back games in St. John’s, Newfoundland against the St. John’s IceCaps. Faceoff is 6:00 PM, and all the CT Whale Rockin’ Hockey action can be heard live on “The Rock”, 106.9 FM, WCCC, as well as on-line at www.ctwhale.com. The Whale’s next home game is coming up Friday, November 18, a GEICO Connecticut Cup battle with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the XL Center at 7:00
As per CapGeek, the details of the Mats Zuccarello-Aason and Jyri Niemi contracts are available. Niemi’s deal is a three-year, two-way deal with an NHL cap hit of $620,000. It includes a $595,000 base salary for the first two years, and a $670,000 salary for the final year. A $210,000 (split as $70,000 per season cap hit) signing bonus was also included, which increases the cap hit.
MZA’s contract is a two-year, two-way deal with an NHL cap hit of $1.75 million. His base salary is $900,000, but it includes a signing bonus of $180,000 (split as $90,000 cap hit per season) and a possible $1.7 million in performance bonuses ($850,000 per season). MZA’s contract is a bit pricey for someone his size, but it could be worth it in the long run.
In the first trade between the Rangers and the Islanders in 37 years, the Rangers have picked up Jyri Niemi for a 2010 6th round pick. The 19-year old, 6’3 210 lb
winger defenseman played for the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL last season, putting together a line of 8-21-29, with 67 PIMs and a +9 rating. Niemi was the Islanders 3rd round pick in 2008, and was not going to be signed by the Islanders. This appears to be a depth move by the Rangers , who are lacking forwards at the AHL level.
With this trade, the Rangers no longer hold picks in the third or sixth rounds of this draft.