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Zaba called up; Johnson, Potter to AHL

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that defenseman Corey Potter and goaltender Chad Johnson have been assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL), and goaltender Matt Zaba has been recalled from Hartford.

Matt Zaba
Potter, 26, logged 8:28 of icetime in his season debut with the Rangers in last night’s 2-1 loss vs. Nashville.  He returns to Hartford where he has skated in 43 games this season, registering two goals and 10 assists for 12 points, along with a plus-six rating and 44 penalty minutes.

His plus-six rating is tied for second on the team overall, and he ranks third among team defensemen in assists, and is tied for third in points and fourth in goals.  Potter also ranks fourth among Hartford defensemen with 68 shots on net this season.  He tied his AHL career-high with three assists, and registered a plus-three rating in a 5-1 win at Norfolk on Saturday.  He has recorded three multi-point efforts, including back-to-back two-point performances in a 5-2 win vs. Lowell on October 24 (one goal and one assist) and a 4-3 win vs. Worcester on October 25 (two assists).  Potter’s goal vs. Lowell on October 24 was his first career shorthanded tally.

The Lansing, Michigan native was originally the Rangers fourth round selection, 122nd overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Johnson, 23, has posted a record of 1-2-1, along with a 2.35 goals against average, a .919 save percentage and one assist in five appearances with the Rangers this season.  He notched his first career NHL win, while starting in consecutive games for the first time in his career, with a 34-save effort in a 3-1 win at Colorado on January 31. 

On January 7 at Atlanta, Johnson became the first NHL goalie to register an assist in his first career start since Alex Auld on January 23, 2002. He made his NHL debut with 17 saves on December 30 vs. Philadelphia, and has dressed as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup in 22 games this season.

Johnson returns to Hartford where he has appeared in 26 games with the Wolf Pack this season, posting a 14-8-2 record with a 2.03 goals against average, .930 save percentage and three shutouts.  He ranked fifth in the AHL in goals against average and save percentage, and was tied for fourth in shutouts and 13th in wins at the time of his recall on January 26.

Johnson registered a season-high four-game winning streak, beginning with his first career AHL shutout on October 31 against Providence to November 7 at Bridgeport. He also notched back-to-back shutouts on November 13 vs. Manchester (26 saves) and November 14 at Worcester (35 saves).  The AHL rookie made his debut with Hartford on October 9 at Providence, and recorded his first AHL win the following game on October 10 against Springfield.

The Calgary, Alberta native was originally the Pittsburgh Penguins’ fifth round selection, 125th overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.  He was acquired by the Rangers on June 27, 2009, in exchange for a fifth round selection (Andy Bathgate) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Zaba, 26, has posted a 2-4-0 record, with a 2.36 goals against average and a .930 save percentage in six games since his assignment to Hartford on January 26.  Overall, he has posted a 5-8-1 record, along with a 3.03 goals against average and a .905 save percentage in 18 appearances with Hartford this season. 

Last season, Zaba ranked seventh in the AHL in goals against average (2.33), tied for eighth in save percentage (.920) and 12th in wins (25). He also led the league in shootout save percentage with a .930% success rate. Zaba was named AHL Goaltender of the Month for February, and he finished the regular season with a 14-2-0 mark and a 1.84 goals against average, a .937 save percentage and one shutout in his final 16 contests. 

Zaba made his AHL debut on October 18, 2008, at Toronto. In addition, Zaba made his NHL debut in a 6-0 loss at Montreal on January 23, entering the game at 6:18 of the second period and stopping 14 of 16 shots, including nine of 10 in the third.  He has dressed as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup in four games this season.

The Yorkton, Saskatchewan native was originally the Los Angeles Kings eighth round selection, 231st overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.  He was signed by the Rangers as a free agent on August 20, 2007.
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