Pittsburgh Penguins Acquire Rob Klinkhammer From Coyotes For Philip Samuelsson


Mar 25, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Phoenix Coyotes left wing Rob Klinkhammer (36) carries the puck as Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Lee Stempniak (22) chases during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Coyotes won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After two months of observing his team, Jim Rutherford has made his first trade as general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

As announced by the team Friday afternoon, the Pens have acquired forward Rob Klinkhammer from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for minor-league defenseman Philip Samuelsson.

While the deal may be at least partially motivated by the rash of injuries to Pittsburgh’s corps of forwards, it would’ve made sense even if Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Beau Bennett and possibly Patric Hornqvist weren’t all injured in some way.

Klinkhammer, 28, has been a productive bottom-six player for the Coyotes over the past three years. He had a breakout 2013-14 season, scoring 18 points (9g, 9a) in 72 games despite playing primarily in a defensive role.

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In addition, the 6-foot-3 left-handed shooter has been a positive possession player during most of his NHL career, outperforming his teammates in Fenwick Relative in each of the past three seasons. He makes $625,000 annually on his current contract, which expires next summer.

Klinkhammer should fit in well on a team that is suffering depth-wise, especially up front. Giving up the 23-year-old Samuelsson is a luxury the Penguins can afford, considering the massive pileup of defense prospects in the organization.

Samuelsson, a second-round pick in the 2009 NHL draft, played five games for the Penguins last season when several blueliners were on injured reserve. He was signed to a one-year contract this summer and has skated in 22 games for AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton so far this season.

Pittsburgh also received a conditional 2016 draft pick in the trade. The Penguins (17-6-2, 36 points) will host Ottawa at 1 p.m. Saturday to conclude their three-game homestand.