Rangers Claim Erik Christensen, Waive Backup Goalie Steve Valiquette


December 2, 2009

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 AHL.

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 center 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
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

"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.

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