On a busy day for Glen Sather and Co., Stephen Valiquette’s career as a Ranger may have come to an end as the team waived the backup netminder for the purpose of sending him to Hartford for conditioning. If Valiquette clears waivers he will remain with the organization but chances are good that another team will take a flier on the veteran goalie. Impressive youngster Chad Johnson, whom the Rangers acquired at this year’s draft in a trade with Pittsburgh, was recalled from Hartford to replace Valiquette as the team’s primary backup to Henrik Lundqvist. Johnson has performed well this season posting a 10-6-1 record with a 2.10 GAA.
The Rangers followed these moves with a waiver claim, picking up veteran center Erik Christensen from the Anaheim Ducks. Christensen, 25, was a third round pick of the Penguins in 2002. He has 42 goals and 56 assists in 226 career games. This season for Anaheim, he had zero points in nine games. The 6-1, 203 lb. pivot had 18 goals for the Pens during the 2006-07 campaign. Christensen will give the Rangers added depth at the center position until Brandon Dubinsky returns from his injury.
Donald Brashear missed practice today and according to Coach Tortorella is “injured” and could be “out for a while”. Better news is the staus of Wade Redden whom Torts believes “is likely to play Saturday” when the Rangers return to action vs. the Sabres.
In Juniors news, Rangers prospects Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider and Ryan Bourque were all selected to the Team USA preliminary roster for the 2010 World Junior Championships. Rangers prospect Evgeny Grachev was expected to play for Russia at the WJC but reports are stating that the Blueshirts have told Russian officials that they are not prepared to let Grachev participate at this time. The Russians will file an appeal with the IIHF and I’m sure we will hear more about this situation over the coming days.