Friday, May 14, 2010

The NYR Facts Of Life: #49 Ilkka Heikkinen

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. Last year around this time the Rangers added a Finnish defenseman and he would get himself a cup of NHL coffee this season. That blueliner was #49 Ilkka Heikkinen.

#49's #s: 7 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, +2, 0 PIM.

Take the good: Heineken, I mean, Heikkinen had a quick, quiet stop on Broadway. And for a defenseman, that was a good thing. At the same time, he didn't really have the trust of the coaching staff so he played more than 10 minutes just once in seven games. I mention that in the good because that one game was against the Isles (12:35), and the Rangers won to snap a four game losing skid. He wasn't overly physical but he blocked a few shots, moved the puck swiftly and smartly and wasn't caught out of position.

Take the bad: Unfortunately that game was Heikkinen's penultimate game in the NHL. He was called up when Tortorella decided Matt Gilroy needed a trip to the bus league and was sent back as soon as Hobey got his act together (and proved he was too good for the AHL). Whether or not he truly could have done something to keep him in New York is unknown but it is hard to make an impact when you are coming on the ice with cold legs, especially as you are trying to get used to the pace of the big leagues.

Take them both and then we have: A useful defenseman for a team that doesn't have two blueline spots sewn up for underachieving, overpaid has-beens. From his stat line in Hartford (38 points in 72 games), you like to think he could be a Teppo Numminen-esque player but we may never know, he is due to become a RFA this summer.

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