71-Petteri Nokelainen - Traded to Canadiens

Here’s what we know about Petteri Nokelainen.

He was a first round draft pick of the Islanders in 2004 (16th overall).  He’s very good on faceoffs;  a good penalty killer with size, at. 6’1” and 200 lbs and can play
all three forward positions.  Don’t expect him to score goals.  He’ll fit into the fourth line.

The Nokelainen story is a bizarre one.  In March of 2010 the Coyotes acquired him from Anaheim for a sixth round draft pick.
He played 22 games including playoffs for the Coyotes scoring one goal and one assist.  The Coyotes then bought out his contract and Nokelainen signed a two-year contract with Jokerit Helsinki of the Finnish League.  With them last season he scored 11 goals and 16 assists in 46 games and added a goal and assist  in seven games for 2011 World Champion Finland.  Seeing this, only a year after buying him out, the Coyotes re-signed him to a 550-thousand dollar contract.  He will be a restricted free agent at the end of this season.

45-Michael Blunden

Michael Blunden came to the Canadiens from Columbus on July 7th in return for forward Ryan Russell.  At the end of training camp, it was between Blunden and Andreas Engqvist for the role of fourth line centre.  Blunden brings a physical component to his game that Engqvist doesn’t have and the Canadiens coaching staff gave him a long look at training camp playing him in five of the eight exhibition games.  In the four games in which they kept the statistic, Blunden, who’s  6’4” and 211 pounds,  recorded sixteen hits.  In the end, Jacques Martin liked Engqvist’s defensive responsibility more than Blunden’s ability to throw his weight around.  Engqvist’s uninspired play through the season’s first seven games,  forced him to change his opinion.


From the Canadiens Publicity Department

MONTREAL (October 23, 2011) – Montreal Canadiens general manager, Pierre Gauthier, announced today the acquisition of forward Petteri Nokelainen and defenseman Garrett Stafford from the Phoenix Coyotes, in return for forward Brock Trotter and a 7th-round draft pick in 2012.

Nokelainen will join the Canadiens in Montreal, while Stafford will report to the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs. Forward Michael Blunden has been recalled from the Bulldogs, while forwards Andreas Engqvist and Aaron Palushaj have been assigned to Hamilton.

Nokelainen, 25, registered one assist in five games with the Coyotes this season. He recorded three shots on goal, five hits and one blocked shot. The 6’01’’, 202 lbs centreman averaged 10 minutes, 58 seconds of ice time per game. In 194 NHL career games, Nokelainen has tallied 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists), with the New York Islanders, the Boston Bruins, the Anaheim Ducks and the Coyotes.

A native of Imatra, Finland, Nokelainen was drafted in the first round, 16th overall by the Islanders at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

In six games this season with the AHL Portland Pirates, Stafford, 31, collected four points (1 goal, 3 assists). In seven NHL career games with the Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars and Coyotes, the 6’01’’, 207 lbs defenseman tallied two assists.

A native of Los Angeles, Stafford joined the Coyotes as a free agent on July 3, 2010. In 562 career games in the AHL, he has registered 317 points (83 goals, 234 assists) and served 452 penalty minutes.

Trotter played five games with the Bulldogs this season and registered seven points (2 goals, 5 assists). One of his goals was tallied on the powerplay. He served four penalty minutes and collected 10 shots on goal. Trotter played two games in career with the Canadiens in the NHL.

In five games with the Bulldogs this season Blunden collected three assists. The 24-year old right winger maintained a +1 plus/minus differential and recorded three shots on goal. He suited up in 51 career regular season games in the NHL with Chicago and Columbus, registering four points (2-2-4). A native of Toronto, Blunden was drafted in the second round, 43rd overall by the Chicago Blackhawks at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He was acquired from the Blue Jackets on July 7, 2011 in return for Ryan Russell.

Engqvist suited up in seven games with the Canadiens this season. The 23-year old centreman maintained a +1 plus/minus differential, recorded one shot on goal, three hits and four blocked shots, while averaging 6:55 of ice time per game. Hailing from Stockholm, Engqvist signed with the Canadiens as a free agent on July 13, 2009.

Palushaj played four games with the Canadiens this season. The 22-year old right winger recorded two shots on goal and four hits, while averaging 5:47 of ice time per game. A native of Livonia, Wisconsin, Palushaj was acquired from the St. Louis Blues in return for Matt D’Agostini.