The Pittsburgh Penguins this afternoon acquired forward Rob Klinkhammer and a conditional 2016 draft pick from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for defenseman Philip Samuelsson.
Klinkhammer, 28, has 19 goals and 36 points in 129 career NHL games. He had a career high 11 goals and 20 points in 72 games last season, posting a plus-6 rating and 168 hits, which ranked second among Arizona forwards.
This season Klinkhammer has 3 goals and no assists and was a plus-3 in 19 games with Phoenix.
Despite the career year in 2013-2014, Klinkhammer fell out of favor this season with Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett and was a healthy scratch for the Coyotes the last two games, including last night vs Los Angeles.
Why did Klinkhammer fall out of favor in Arizona?
A blue collar player who had to work his way up to the NHL after being undrafted and playing over 200 games in the AHL, an NHL source alluded to that Klinkhammer this season has gotten away from the basic principles of his game, (hard working, energy, gritty net-front player), which is a primary reason he struggled to crack the lineup of late in Arizona.
The Coyotes informed all 29 teams via email this week, Klinkhammer was available for trade, a common move teams make before they plan to waive a player.
Complaints in Coyotes circles is Klinkhammer coming off his 11 goal season, started playing more like a “finesse” player this season. One Western Conference Scout on Klinkhammer’s play this season. “Effective on cycle, gets to the dirty areas when he’s engaged…..The lunch-pail mentality is a staple of his game. It was lacking [in Arizona].”
For the Penguins, though, this is a move at potentially plugging a hole on the 4th line when this group is fully healthy in replacing Zach Sill as a regular. At 6-foot-3, 215-pounds, Klinkhammer gives the Penguins needed size on the 4th line and has been a positive possession player with 52.5 CF% this season.
If Klinkhammer can come in and play to his ability from last season, the Penguins could end up turning a prospect in Philip Samuelsson, who had no long term future in the organization and over two months ago was on waivers, into a useful 4th line player.
It’s a zero risk trade where the Penguins take on a contract ($625,000) that doesn’t impact their cap.
The bigger story is the Penguins drafting Samuelsson in the second round in 2009, getting nothing out of him on the ice at the NHL level and potentially nothing via trade if Klinkhammer is nothing more than a marginal player.
VIDEO’S VIA NHL.COM OF KLINKHAMMER’S THREE GOALS THIS SEASON