I just spoke to General Manager Don Maloney about the trade he made Monday afternoon with the New York Rangers. He told me there were several reasons why he decided to ship speedy forward Enver Lisin to the Rangers for speedy forward Lauri Korpikoski
“We have a lot of players who play on the right side – Shane Doan
, Peter Mueller, Mikkel Boedker
, Lisin - so we were looking to add a similar-type player on the left side,” Maloney said. “In Enver’s case, we all know he has tremendous one-on-one ability yet the inconsistencies to his game were concerning. He is a minus-36 in 78 NHL games. That’s a telling stat. Korpikoski can play center or the left side, he’s an elite skater, and I think there’s more growth to his game. I think we know what we’re getting. In the worst-case scenario, we are getting a third-line penalty killer and energy player.”
“Another reason we made the trade was because Enver had threatened to go back to Russia if he didn’t get a contract that was, in our minds, more than it’s worth to us," Maloney said. “All those factors added up.”
The Rangers selected Korpikoski with the 19th overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Maloney was New York’s assistant general manager at the time.
“This was a lateral move of two players who are the same age, but I know Korpikoski’s character and work ethic, and I think there is more upside to his game,” Maloney said. “To me, Enver is sort of a hit or miss, you know, it’s all or nothing. Lauri is going to be a good, stable player for us. Now, whether he can be more than a third-line player, we’ll see.”
Korpikoski notched six goals and eight assists in 68 games for the Rangers as a rookie in 2008-09. I asked Maloney if he thought Korpikoski was where he should be five years after being a first-round draft pick.
“When we drafted him he was very lean, but I think just recently he’s starting to sort of come into his body,” Maloney said. “I spoke to him yesterday and he told me he was just under 200 pounds, which is a good weight for him.”
Korpikoski is a restricted free agent, but Maloney is not worried about signing him. Look for a deal to be announced very soon.
“We’ll get something done,” Maloney said. “We’re talking now about a two-year contract, but if not he’ll take his qualifying offer, which is a two-way contract.”
FYI, I will be calling Korpikoski, who is currently in his native Finland, later today. Check back to phoenixcoyotes.com in a few hours to hear an interview with him.
Thanks for reading.