NEW YORK – The New York Rangers claimed forward Erik Christensen off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday and waived Steve Valiquette with the hope of sending the backup goalie down to the American Hockey League.
Christensen, who was part of the 2008 trade that sent Marian Hossa from Atlanta to Pittsburgh, is joining his fourth NHL team in three seasons. In nine games with Anaheim this season, the 25-year-old centre failed to record a point.
The move was made partly because enforcer Donald Brashear is bothered by an undisclosed injury.
Valiquette, in his fifth season with the Rangers, has slumped recently in his role behind No. 1 goalie Henrik Lundqvist. He is 2-3 with a 3.74 goals-against average in six games this season. Valiquette allowed all the goals in an 8-3 loss at Pittsburgh on Saturday night.
The Rangers, who don’t play until Saturday at Buffalo, are trying to get Valiquette through waivers and then send him to Hartford of the AHL. New York recalled goalie Chad Johnson from Hartford on Wednesday.
“We’d like to send him down on conditioning, but I don’t think we can because of our cap problems,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said of Valiquette. “We want to get him down there playing and get his game back. Johnson gets to practice with us.
“It’s a tough situation for Valley. He hasn’t played a whole bunch. Sometimes your skills may diminish. It’s just been a little bit of a struggle for him. He works his butt off on the ice, but he hasn’t played much and I think that’s hurt him. If he goes through, he gets an opportunity to play some minutes and get his game back.”
Christensen had seven goals and a career-high 21 assists in 64 games last season with Atlanta and Anaheim.
In 226 games over five NHL seasons, Christensen has 42 goals and 56 assists. He was traded by Pittsburgh along with forwards Colby Armstrong and Angelo Esposito and a first-round draft pick to Atlanta for Hossa and forward Pascal Dupuis on Feb. 26, 2008.
The Thrashers sent him to Anaheim in March for the rights to junior player Eric O’Dell.