The Coyotes finally have their next backup goalie. In the market for more than a week for a replacement for David LeNeveu, who quickly fell out of favor, Phoenix acquired Mikael Tellqvist from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday for left wing Tyson Nash and its fourth-round choice in the 2007 draft.
“Mikael is a good, young goaltender, and we are excited to have him in our organization,” coach Wayne Gretzky said. “Curtis (Joseph) is our number one goaltender, but we needed to find a proven NHL net minder who could provide him with some support.”
Tellqvist, 27, has appeared in 40 games over parts of four seasons in the NHL, all with Toronto. He has a career record of 16-16-4 with a 3.01 GAA and .895 save percentage. Tellqvist, a member of Sweden’s gold-medal winning team at this year’s Winter Olympics, will fly to Phoenix today and be in uniform for Thursday’s game against Los Angeles. “(The trade) was on TV first before I heard from (Toronto’s) GM. That’s the way it is in Toronto,” Tellqvist said. “I’m really excited. As soon as I heard the news, I was jumping up and down in my apartment. It’s going to be a great chance for me, a great opportunity.”
Tellqvist was in a logjam situation with the Maple Leafs, stuck behind Andrew Raycroft and Jean-Sebastien Aubin. Toronto was reluctant to send him to the minors for fear he might be claimed off waivers. He appeared in one game, a 2-1 loss to New Jersey on Nov. 18, this season and also spent some time on the injured list with a broken finger. Tellqvist, who will make $589,000 this year, slightly less than the $608,000 owed Nash, will be a restricted free agent after the season.
“If he plays well he’s not going anywhere,” general manager Mike Barnett said. “That was part of the appeal.”
Nash, 31, played the role of enforcer for the Coyotes for the past two seasons but has spent all of this season in the minors with San Antonio of the AHL. He is expected to be assigned to Toronto’s AHL team.
Meanwhile, LeNeveu (2-1-0, 3.86 GAA, .894 save percentage) was reassigned to San Antonio.