When the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Rob Klinkhammer, we had to dig deep to see just what happened. Klinkhammer has been around for a while, but isn't exactly a household name. Luckily, the SB Nation brand runs deep and we exchanged a few emails with Jaime Eisner, the top dog at Five For Howling, the Arizona Coyotes blog. Check them out in the future to keep up with Samuelsson and old friend Joe Vitale, if you're so obliged.
We asked for a little background on Klinkhammer and weren't disappointed. Let's get to know the new Penguin forward:
Rob Klinkhammer was the physical embodiment of what a Coyotes player was through the team's owner-less years. A player no one thought much about as he toiled away in the minors as a hard-working forward with limited offensive ability.
Klinkhammer came to Arizona with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. He went undrafted out of the WHL and received only minor league contract offers. He played a season with the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL and a season with the Chicago Blackhawks' AHL affiliate Rockford IceDogs before signing his first NHL contract with the Blackhawks on Jun. 8, 2009, a two-year ELC.
The Lethbridge, Alberta native spent three more seasons in the Blackhawks organization, playing just one NHL game, but earning himself a one-year deal to stay with the club in July 2011.
On Dec. 2, 2011, Klinkhammer was traded to the Ottawa Senators for a conditional seventh-round draft pick and reported to their AHL affiliate. He was a point-per-game player in Binghamton (12-23-35 in 35 games) and earned himself a 15-game stint with the Senators to finish the 2011-12 season. He scored just two points and became an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.
The Coyotes, desperate for inexpensive forwards, took a chance on Klinkhammer, signing him to a one-year deal and placing him in the AHL during the lockout. He remained there for the first couple post-lockout months of the 2013 season, continuing his minor league dominance with 14 goals and 44 points in 53 games. The Coyotes rewarded him with 22 NHL games to finish off the season and Klinkhammer showed real promise, scoring 11 points in 22 games.
Klinkhammer has remained on the main roster ever since, but the production he flashed in the AHL and in his first stint with the Coyotes never materialized. He was held to just 20 points in 72 games last season and just three points (all goals) so far this season.
The 28-year-old has bounced around Arizona's third and fourth lines this season, never finding a home, but never producing either. As the Coyotes want to move younger, those value signings of the past are being moved out in favor of former first and second round draft picks.
Klinkhammer played about 11 minutes per game and was a solid possession player, albeit against average competition. He is a competent fourth liner who can be physical, but can move the puck as well.
Klinkhammer is a hard-working forward who has good size for today's game. Unlike many fourth line wingers, Klinkhammer is not a possession liability or a player that uses physicality to the team's detriment. Offensively, expect his point total to be somewhere in the low 20s, but nothing more. However, he does have the ability to score double-digit goals from his bottom-six role.
Consistency is Klinkhammer's biggest problem. You never know if you are going to get the guy who feasts on poor competition, controls the puck and finds the back of the net or the guy you are not sure even skated that day. He is not a great skater, but nothing that should cause him major issues.
He is a cheap stopgap for a playoff caliber team close to the cap. He can provide effective fourth line minutes more often than not. He is likely nothing more than a 13th or 14th forward, but can step in and play with 3rd of 4th line guys as needed.
Thanks to Jaime for the detailed description. Hopefully the change of scenery and new opportunity to play with Pittsburgh invigorates Klinkhammer and he can boost his future outlook to be a solid 4th liner for the Pens this season.