Rostislav Klesla is on his way to Portland.
Klesla, waived by Phoenix on Tuesday, has cleared and will be sent to the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate, the club announced on Wednesday. The move marks a pretty quick turn of events for the 31-year-old defenseman who, on Monday, played 17 shifts for 14:56 in Phoenix’s 4-2 loss to Nashville.
Klesla is in the final year of a four-year, $11.9 million deal originally signed with Columbus (he was acquired via trade in 2011.) The Czech rearguard has appeared in 15 games for the Coyotes this season, scoring three points while averaging 15:42 TOI per game.
The former first-round pick (fourth overall, 2000 NHL Entry Draft) has been plagued by injuries this season, missing four games to a lower-body injury and three to a concussion suffered on a hit during a preseason game by L.A.’s Jordan Nolan.
To replace Klesla, the Coyotes have brought up Connor Murphy from Portland. The club’s first-round pick (20th overall) at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Murphy was recalled earlier this season and scored in his NHL debut.
As for what the future has for Klesla?
“He goes down and can get his game going,” Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett told the Arizona Republic. “He came into camp in pretty good shape and got hurt, missed some time, came back and starting playing, got hurt again and missed some time.
“Hopefully this is an opportunity for him to go down and play a lot of minutes and see if he can get his game back in order and if that’s the case, he can be a helpful player on our team. But we just need him to be playing at a higher level.”