|Brothers Marcel and Marian Hossa were both on the move during tuesday's trade deadline.
Marian Hossa | Marcel Hossa
The Rangers have stressed the need for help on the back end all season, and it became more pressing Monday when the team announced Paul Mara will be out for at least two weeks after having facial surgery.
In Backman, the Rangers acquired a 6-foot-4, 200-pound defenseman who has 10 points in 45 games this season. He was teammates with goalie Henrik Lundqvist on Sweden’s gold-medal winning team at the 2006 Winter Olympics. Backman recently missed 10 games with a left foot injury.
In the five-player trade with the Coyotes, the Rangers also sent minor-league goalie Al Montoya to the desert with Hossa.
Montoya was the Rangers’ first-round pick, sixth overall, in the 2004 Entry Draft, but has been stuck in Hartford of the AHL due to the emergence of Lundqvist. Coyotes GM Don Maloney was the Rangers’ assistant GM when Montoya was drafted, so he is well aware of the goalie’s skills.
Sjostrom will likely pay the most immediate dividends for the Rangers as Gratton and Leneveu could wind up in Hartford. Gratton, known to be a fighter, and Leneveu have spent most of their 2007-08 season with San Antonio of the AHL.
Gratton had 14 points and 124 penalty minutes in 38 AHL games this season. He won the Calder Cup with the Philadelphia Phantoms in 2004 and had six points and 78 penalty minutes in 21 AHL playoff games that year.
Leneveu, who is 24, was 9-7-3 with a 2.66 GAA and .911 save percentage in 22 appearances this season for San Antonio.
Sjostrom has 19 points in 51 NHL games this season, including a hat trick in his season debut at Nashville on Oct. 11. The former first-round draft pick could fit in on the Rangers’ checking line with Blair Betts and Ryan Hollweg. When Colton Orr returns from his upper body injury the Rangers will have some solid depth among their checking forwards.
Montoya could very well be the key of this deal, but he won’t have any inside track to a starting job in Phoenix either as the Coyotes have No. 1 Ilya Bryzgalov locked up for the next three years and backup Mikael Tellqvist has also played well of late, including a 34-save shutout on Feb. 18 at Los Angeles.
Montoya was 16-8-3 with a 2.54 GAA and a .908 save percentage in 31 games with Hartford this season. He’s 66-34-4 during his AHL career.
Hossa falls into the category of someone who may have just needed a change of scenery. He has shown flashes of offense in a Rangers uniform, especially last season when he was playing on a line with Jaromir Jagr and Michael Nylander, but consistency has been an issue.
Hossa, who has 31 goals and 30 assists in 223 NHL games, including a career high 18 points in 64 games last season, was recently activated from the IR. He played 8:52 Sunday night in a 5-0 win over Florida. It was his first action since Jan. 14.
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