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.
Mar 28, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT
He appeared in eight games with Columbus this season.
Mar 28, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT
It’ll cost him $3,897.85.
Mar 28, 2015, 5:40 PM EDT
Detroit moves five points up on Boston in the Atlantic with the win.
Mar 28, 2015, 4:38 PM EDT
Anaheim currently has the NHL’s best record as well.
Mar 28, 2015, 3:48 PM EDT
Big win for the B’s.
Mar 28, 2015, 3:25 PM EDT
The West’s first ticket gets punched.
Mar 28, 2015, 2:59 PM EDT
There’s plenty of debate about it being dirty or clean.
Mar 28, 2015, 2:49 PM EDT
The only update so far is he’s “unlikely to return.”
Mar 28, 2015, 2:18 PM EDT
A positive trend on Saturday.
Mar 28, 2015, 1:46 PM EDT
Pittsburgh killed the penalty.
Mar 28, 2015, 1:35 PM EDT
Notes from a busy Saturday afternoon.
Mar 28, 2015, 1:13 PM EDT
Nashville’s in a great position to clinch a playoff spot.
Mar 28, 2015, 12:24 PM EDT
The really busy Saturday matinee edition.
Mar 28, 2015, 12:09 PM EDT
Nashville will aim to clinch without him.
Mar 28, 2015, 11:55 AM EDT
Four teams look to punch their ticket on Saturday.
Mar 28, 2015, 11:17 AM EDT
Just what the doctor ordered.
Mar 28, 2015, 11:10 AM EDT
They face the desperate Bruins today.
Mar 28, 2015, 11:03 AM EDT
He’s a healthy scratch for Saturday.
Mar 28, 2015, 10:31 AM EDT
St. Louis gets Carl Gunnarsson back, too.
Mar 28, 2015, 9:29 AM EDT
Now that’s a “hockey face.”
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