Shortly after the completion of the first round of the NHL draft Friday night, the Coyotes acquired defenseman Zbynek Michalek from the Penguins in exchange for defenseman Harrison Ruopp, goaltender Marc Cheverie and the 81st selection in the draft.
The 29-year-old Michalek spent five seasons with the Coyotes from 2005-10 and is coming off a season in which he collected two goals, 11 assists, 24 penalty minutes and a team-leading 144 blocked shots. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Czech native has spent eight seasons in the NHL overall with the Penguins, Coyotes and Wild and has accumulated 34 goals, 113 assists and 246 penalty minutes.
Michalek, who is under contract for three more years at $4 million a season, will help stabilize a defensive corp that could be in the midst of transition due to the unrestricted-free-agent status of stalwarts Michal Rozsival and Adrian Aucoin. The NHL free-agency period begins July 1.
Ruopp, who played in the Western Hockey League last season, had two goals, seven assists and 127 penalty minutes in 62 games with Prince Albert. He was the Coyotes’ third-round selection (84th overall) Coyotes in the 2011 draft.
Cheverie split the 2011-12 season between Gwinnett of the ECHL and Portland of the American Hockey League. He was acquired from the Panthers in a trade for Justin Bernhardt on Sept. 8, 2011.
The Coyotes had acquired the 81st selection in the 2012 draft from the Flyers in exchange for the negotiating rights to Ilya Bryzgalov last offseason.