Rangers Claim D Jeff Woywitka Off Waivers From Montreal

Jeff Woywitka should not be confused with Samuel Witwicky (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America)

As most Rangers fans were clamoring for the team to pass on less-then-desirable choices like Paul Mara to help shore up the defense, Glen Sather & co. were thinking a bit differently.

According to the Rangers official Twitter feed, they have claimed D Jeff Woywitka off waivers from the Montreal Canadiens. Woywitka, 28, played the last 2 seasons in Dallas with teammate Brad Richards. His cap-hit will be $650k for the upcoming season.

Join me after the jump for more.

Here are Woywitka’s career numbers thus far (courtesy of Hockey-Reference):

Now the moves of the past few days make a bit more sense. The Rangers were looking to see who would come across the waiver wire and if they were any better than the current crop of D they had. Here comes Woywitka falling into their laps and suddenly an option presents itself. With Stu Bickel and Brendan Bell clearing waivers earlier in the week, either can be assigned to Connecticut at any time. Look for Woywitka to be ready to play for the Rangers after they come back from Europe.

Admittedly, I’m not familiar with Woywitka’s style of play. From the numbers, it looks like he can play decent minutes every night (averaged 14-18 since rookie season) and will give the Rangers some shot blocking. 43 hits indicate he can be physical at times and at 6′ 3” and 227 lbs. he will provide some size. Something you shouldn’t expect from him, however, is any offense. Woywitka now becomes Tim Erixon’s insurance policy incase the rookie defender struggles mightily to start the season.

This move works for one simple reason; it’s not Paul Mara. Woywitka is younger, cheaper, and, frankly, a better option. Having said that, had Woywitka not been available I think you would have seen Mara on the team, as other viable options are non-existent.

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Tags: Brendan Bell Dallas Stars Defenseman Jeff Woywitka Montreal Canadiens New York Rangers Stu Bickel Tim Erixon Waivers

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