Yesterday, it was a rumor on Finnish hockey forums. Today it became official.
New York Rangers' General Manager Glen Sather announced that the organization reached a deal with Finnish blueliner Ilkka Heikkinen.
Apparently this guy ranks third amongst SM-liiga defenseman in total points (34 in 54 games is none too shabby) and he's a solid 6'2" and 200 pounds. His SM-liiga player page states that he doesn't mind dropping the gloves either.
I'm not ready to jump on the Heikkinen train just yet, but it's a promising beginning.
He'll probably start the season in Hartford, filling in space likely left by either Sanguinetti, Sauer, or whichever defenseman makes the team this fall.
However, the Rangers have been looking for an offensive defenseman to help on the power play, something both Redden and Rozsival failed to do effectively this season. Heikkinen may be able to fill that roll at some point next season.
If both Morris and Mara are not resigned, look to Heikkinen as being a possible mid-season call-up if he fails to make the initial roster.
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