There's still plenty of time before the February 27 trade deadline, but the Minnesota Wild has already gotten into the action. The club announced today that it has acquired veteran center Erik Christensen
and a conditional seventh round pick in 2013 in exchange for Casey Wellman.
To make room for Christensen's arrival, Chad Rau
has been reassigned to the Houston Aeros.
The 28-year-old Christensen will join the Wild today in Dallas. He joins his sixth NHL team after posting a goal and four assists in 20 games this season. It's been a frustrating year for the 2002 third round pick of Pittsburgh, who had his best season with the Penguins in 2006-2007 when he notched 18 goals and 15 assists in 33 games. He put up 27 points (11-16=27) in 63 games last year, his second with the Rangers.
He recently came off a two-week conditioning stint with the Hartford Whale after not cracking the Ranger lineup for 10 games.
"I'm excited to come here," said Christensen shortly after being notified of the trade. "I haven't played much this year so it will be a nice, fresh start for me."
The 6-foot-1, 200 pound Edmonton native was a member of the Penguins for two of the seasons (2006-2008) that Mike Yeo was there as an assistant coach.
"I know Chuck [Fletcher] and Mike Yeo from my days in Pittsburgh," said Christensen. "Those two guys probably know me the best, and probably the first two guys I thought of when I heard of the trade. That's probably the connection there."
Yeo said that he's excited to add Christensen's talents to the roster, as well as his character.
"He's a guy that's capable of making plays and with that, he's very versatile," said Yeo. "He's a guy that can play on our power play. Obviously we're looking for him to create some offense for us.
He was always a good teammate - a guy that was a team-first guy. I would expect him to come in and fit in the same way here."
Over his eight-year NHL career, Christensen, who goes by the nickname of "Crusher," has proven himself especially valuable in shootouts, with a career success rate of 52.9% (18 for 34).
The trade ends the Casey Wellman era in the Wild organization. Wellman signed with Minnesota in March of 2010 as a highly sought after college free agent out of UMass-Amherst. He played 12 games with the Wild at the end of that season and scored a goal and three assists.
Over the next two years, Wellman was expected to challenge for a roster spot with the Wild. But he was never able to stick, playing 15 games last year and posting two points. This season, he appeared in 14 games and tallied two goals and five assists.