Here is your typical example of one of those, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” sort of moves by the New York Rangers, as they again traded with Don Maloney and the Not-Ready-For-Winnipeg Coyotes…or the Blueshirt’s apparent West Coast affiliate if you so prefer. The Rangers sent unsigned forward Ethan Werek to the Coyotes for Swedish Elite League center Oscar Lindberg.
Clearly the Rangers, who’ve had Werek’s rights since drafting him in the second round (#47 overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, had no interest in signing the 19-year old left-handed center.
Why the Rangers lost interest in the young scoring center is still a good question given Werek’s size and numbers. The Markham, Ontario native is 6’2, 200lbs and in 47 games this season registered 24g and 28a for 52 points. The only logical conclusion given his stats (see below) is there must be concern about his ability to stay healthy. His games played has decreased steadily over the past three years going from a high of 66 games in 2008-09 down to 57 the following year and then just 47 games this season for the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL.
On the other hand, Lindberg is also 19 years of age and was taken by the Coyotes just ten picks after Werek. There seems to be some discrepancy between the Rangers listing of him at 6’1 and 190-pounds versus what his stats show (see below) listing him at 6’ and 185-pounds.
The only apparent plus that Lindberg has to offer statistically is that he is registered an ungodly 69.6% success rate on face-offs this season, the best in the Swedish Elite League. (Think maybe Henrik Lundqvist might have been asked to find out a bit about this kid perhaps?)
Again, this is a low-risk move for the Blueshirts. The Rangers can watch him in Europe for another year and if they’re not satisfied, they just let the right s go away. They weren’t keeping Werek’s anyway so what-the-heck?
Here’s the official release from the Rangers:
RANGERS ACQUIRE FORWARD OSCAR LINDBERG FROM PHOENIX IN EXCHANGE FOR ETHAN WEREK
New York, May 8, 2011 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has acquired forward Oscar Lindberg from Phoenix in exchange for Ethan Werek.
Lindberg, 19, skated in 41 games with Skelleftea in the Swedish Elite League this season, registering five goals and nine assists for 14 points, along with 31 penalty minutes. He also appeared in 18 playoff contests with Skelleftea, tallying three goals and four assists for seven points, ranking sixth on the team in scoring and tying for fifth in goals. The native of Skelleftea, Sweden appeared in six games at the World Junior Championship, collecting two goals and two assists, tying for fifth on the team in scoring. He tallied the game deciding goal, registered five shots and a plus-two rating in a 6-5 shootout victory over Canada on December 31.
The 6-1, 190-pounder has skated in 77 career matches with Skelleftea, registering six goals and 10 assists for 16 points, along with 66 penalty minutes. Lindberg has also appeared in 78 contests with Skelleftea’s junior team, tallying 36 goals and 46 assists for 82 points along with 108 penalty minutes. He recorded the league’s best faceoff percentage in 2008-09 (63.4), 2009-10 (60.4) and 2010-11 (69.6).
Lindberg was drafted by Phoenix as their second round choice, 52nd overall, in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
Werek, 19, skated in 47 games with the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), registering 24 goals and 28 assists for 52 points along with 51 penalty minutes. He was originally drafted by the Rangers as their second choice, 47th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
(Stats provided by Hockeydb.com)