Heshka happy for chance

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:56 AM ET

By the time he gets to Phoenix, Shaun Heshka may have a better chance at cracking an NHL roster.

The Vancouver Canucks dealt the rights to Manitoba Moose defenceman to the Phoenix Coyotes for a seventh-round draft pick yesterday.

Heshka owns a home in Winnipeg, but is quite happy to be skating off to the desert.

"Obviously, it's a better opportunity for me to play in the NHL," Heshka said yesterday. "Vancouver has a lot of good defencemen and Phoenix doesn't have the same depth as Vancouver does. I haven't gotten a shot in the NHL with Vancouver in three years and that's the main goal."

The Coyotes did also acquired rearguard Sam Lepisto from Washington and blue-liner Jim Vandermeer from Calgary on the weekend.

Heshka, 23, scored three goals and 26 points with a plus-17 rating and 25 penalty minutes in 77 AHL games last season.

Heshka is aware of the instability of the Coyotes franchise.

"That's certainly not in my control," said the Melville, Sask., native. "I've just got to go along with it day by day and see what happens."

Nor does Heshka have any plans to sell his house here.

"I'm going to keep it and maybe rent it out to some of the guys (Moose) and maybe sell it after a year or so," he said. "But I will definitely miss the guys here. It's a first-class team and I'll miss the players and the coaches ... It's been nice to play here and everything."

With Taylor Ellington and Evan Oberg coming on board, the Moose blue-line was starting to get crowded. And Heshka's three-year NHL entry-level contract was about to expire.

Vancouver chose Steven Anthony, a 6-foot-1, 184-pound left winger from Halifax with the pick.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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