Falcons Acquire Kuiper; Reunited with Rullier
The Springfield Falcons are reporting that the club has acquired defenseman Nick Kuiper from the Portland Pirates (AHL) in exchange for future considerations. The undrafted three year pro has split time between Manitoba (AHL) and Portland and the Augusta Lynx (ECHL) this season after spending two seasons with Norfolk (AHL) and a four year NCAA career with UMass-Amherst.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Kuiper is a solid stay-at-home defenseman and will be reunited in Springfield with fellow Manitoba/Portland blueliner Joe Rullier, who was acquired by Tampa from Anaheim at the NHL trade deadline for Doug O'Brien. In his eighth AHL campaign, the veteran Rullier is a tough physical defenseman and should step into the Springfield top defensive pairing, while Kuiper may see his time split between Springfield and Johnstown.
The acquisitions of Kuiper and Rullier and yesterday's recall of P.J. Atherton from Johnstown brings the total number of defenseman on the Springfield roster to nine that also includes Jay Rosehill, Sylvain Dufresne, Andy Rogers, Matt Smaby, Doug Andress, and Mike Egener.
The February tradings of Andy Delmore and Doug O'Brien should be viewed as an effort by the organization to address defensive zone breakdowns and lapses by the Falcons backline, and the acquisition of Rullier and Kuiper are moves in an attempt to bring some veteran stability in those areas.