Johnson, Heikkinen called up from Pack

Rookie to back up Lundqvist as Valiquette joins Wolf Pack

Thursday, 12.03.2009 / 3:31 PM / News
New York Rangers
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Johnson, Heikkinen called up from Pack
New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that goaltender Chad Johnson and defenseman Ilkka Heikkinen have been recalled from the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL), and goaltender Steve Valiquette has been assigned to Hartford.

Chad Johnson
Johnson, 23, has appeared in 18 games with Hartford this season, posting a 10-6-1 record with a 2.10 goals against average, .926 save percentage and three shutouts. He is currently tied for second in the AHL in shutouts, fifth in wins, eigth in save percentage, and ninth in goals against average.

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.

Prior to joining Hartford, Johnson appeared in 79 games over four seasons with the University of Alaska-Fairbanks of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA), posting a 25-34-11 record with a 2.33 goals against average.  Last season, he earned CCHA Player of the Year and CCHA Goalie of the Year honors, and was named to the CCHA First All-Star Team after establishing career-highs in wins (14), goals against average (1.66), save percentage (.940) and shutouts (six) in 35 appearances. Johnson was also selected to the NCAA West All-American Second Team, and was a top ten finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in collegiate hockey.

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.

Ilkka Heikkinen
Heikkinen, 25, has skated in 24 games with Hartford this season, registering five goals and 11 assists for 16 points, along with eight penalty minutes.  He is currently tied for fifth among AHL defensemen in goals, sixth in points and ninth in assists.  He also ranks second on Hartford overall in shots (54), fifth in points, and is tied for second on the team in shorthanded goals (one), third in assists and seventh in goals.

Heikkinen has recorded four multi-point performances on the season, including two multi-assist efforts.  He tallied a point (assist) in his AHL debut on October 3 at Binghamton, and notched his first career AHL goal on October 11 at Providence.

The Rauma, Finland native skated in 283 career SM-liiga games with Lukko and HIFK over six seasons prior to joining Hartford, registering 31 goals and 82 assists for 113 points, along with 255 penalty minutes.  He finished last season ranked third among all SM-liiga defensemen in points (34) and led HIFK defensemen in goals (eight), assists (26) and points, while finishing second on the team overall in assists, fourth in points and seventh in goals.  In 2007-08, he established SM-liiga career-highs in goals (11), assists (26), points (37), and penalty minutes (96).

Heikkinen signed with the Rangers as a free agent on May 20, 2009.

Valiquette, 32, has appeared in six games with the Rangers this season, posting a record of 2-3-0 with a 3.74 goals against average, .852 save percentage and one shutout.  He registered his fourth career shutout with an 18-save effort in his season debut on October 11 against Anaheim.