Nov 26, 2013, 12:20 PM EDT
The Phoenix Coyotes raised eyebrows across the league on Tuesday by placing veteran defenseman Rostislav Klesla on waivers.
Klesla, 31, is in the final year of a four-year, $11.9 million deal originally signed with Columbus (he was acquired via trade in 2011.) The Czech rearguard has appeared in 15 games for the Coyotes this season, scoring three points while averaging 15:42 TOI per game.
The former first-round pick (fourth overall, 2000 NHL Entry Draft) has been plagued by injuries this season, missing four games to a lower-body injury and three to a concussion suffered on a hit during a preseason game by L.A.’s Jordan Nolan.
The decision to waive Klesla comes just hours after he played 17 shifts for 14:56 in a 4-2 loss to Nashville on Monday night. It’s worth noting he carries an average annual cap hit of $2.975 million.
Update: Here’s some background behind the move, as per the Arizona Republic…
“We’re looking to try to find ways to improve our group, and I talked to Don after the game last night and we talked about different scenarios,” Tippett said. “One was just to see how we could change the mix a little bit, and [waiving Klesla] was the first step of it.”
The team did not make Klesla available to comment, and team brass wasn’t saying much either.
“We’ll see what happens and at that point, I’ll explain what’s going to happen and why,” General Manager Don Maloney said.
Signs of this demotion started to pop up earlier this month. Klesla was a healthy scratch Nov. 16 against the Tampa Bay Lightning after he was minus-3 the game before against the Chicago Blackhawks despite playing in a team-high 36 shifts (24:41).
Klesla is still practicing with the Coyotes and, if he isn’t claimed by another NHL team by Wednesday morning, will reportedly be sent to Phoenix’s AHL affiliate in Portland.
Oct 2, 2014, 10:57 AM EDT
Ken Hitchcock says the “playoffs tell you everything.” So what does that say about the Blues?
Oct 2, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT
Seventh overall pick at ’14 draft is headed to WHL Red Deer.
Oct 2, 2014, 9:57 AM EDT
They’re betting on him lasting longer than Spezza.
Oct 2, 2014, 9:29 AM EDT
They didn’t want another top forward to slip away.
Oct 2, 2014, 9:23 AM EDT
Toronto signed him to a three-year deal in July.
Oct 2, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
A few tough breaks and the optimism is eroding a bit.
Oct 2, 2014, 8:26 AM EDT
That brings the Penguins’ roster down to 31 players.
Oct 2, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
Thursday’s collection of links.
Oct 1, 2014, 11:20 PM EDT
He may begin 2014-15 banged up.
Oct 1, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT
“The next few days will be the turning point,” GM Jim Rutherford said.
Oct 1, 2014, 10:12 PM EDT
The early word is that he’s OK, though.
Oct 1, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
It’s not as foolish as it sounds … maybe.
Oct 1, 2014, 8:45 PM EDT
Worth a try.
Oct 1, 2014, 8:02 PM EDT
According to fellow Swede and Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg.
Oct 1, 2014, 6:38 PM EDT
One last chance for a tune-up.
Oct 1, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT
Where he’ll resume coaching duties for KHL Lokomotiv.
Oct 1, 2014, 4:01 PM EDT
Didn’t take advantage of their opportunities.
Oct 1, 2014, 2:46 PM EDT
Sounds like both will start the season at center.
Oct 1, 2014, 2:24 PM EDT
Off to AHL Lake Erie they go.
Oct 1, 2014, 2:10 PM EDT
“We have not been in contact with the IOC and they have not been in touch with us.”
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- Julien thinks diving crackdown is ‘step in the right direction’ 37
- Holland doesn’t see Babcock deal by start of season 10
- Risk Factors: Pittsburgh Penguins edition 4
- PHT Morning Skate: Flyers bringing back Ice Girls 15
- Dillon’s agent: Discussions with Stars are ‘frustrating and disappointing’ 7
- NHL shoots down Tkachev’s contract with Edmonton 9
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- Johansen, Blue Jackets talks haven’t just resumed, they’re ‘very polite’ 15
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- Reinhart admits frustration; time running out to make Sabres? (25)
- Canucks waive Markstrom as Shinkaruk, Jensen continue to impress (23)
- Filip Forsberg has scored two thirds of the Preds’ preseason goals (21)