A bevy of defensemen led the Quad-City Mallards to make a trade Tuesday.
The Mallards traded rookie defenseman Chris Leibinger to the Utah Grizzlies Tuesday in exchange for financial considerations.
Leibinger played in five of the team's six games this year but ice time is expected to be at a premium with the expected return of Jacob Graves from injury, giving the Mallards eight defensemen.
"Graves is going to be back in the lineup and we got Willie (Raskob) two weeks ago and Utah was the other team he was thinking about going to when he came out of college and Utah needs 'D' right now," head coach Phil Axtell said. "He wants to play, he deserves to play, we're just a little full right now and we wish him the best of luck and thank him for what he's done here."
Leibinger joined the Mallards out of Michigan Tech University last year, playing in five games to close out the season, then played in all five playoff games last year against the Fort Wayne Komets, tallying two assists.
In the first five games this year, he tallied one assist and had a plus-3 rating. He's a versatile two-way defenseman but Axtell thinks he has other players who can fill the role, and wants to be defensive-minded after allowing 107 shots in two games this last weekend.
"I think right now we've got the forwards that can produce and we need some 'D' that will stop the puck, stop goals, prevent goals and just play defense," he said. "I think (Ales) Sova will fit into that role when he gets a little more adjusted and Raskob can jump into that role as well and we have a few other guys, (Kyle Follmer) ready to go at either position so I think it will be a better situation for him to go and play some minutes."
Gibson signs with Toledo: Former Mallards defenseman Kevin Gibson signed with the Toledo Walleye Tuesday and was added to the active roster.
Gibson, the son of former NL MVP Kirk Gibson, had played the last two seasons with the Mallards, scoring three goals and adding 36 assists in 114 goals with a +33 rating. Gibson tied for fourth in the league last year with a +32 rating.
The Mallards traded Gibson's ECHL rights to the Rapid City Rush this offseason to complete a February trade between the ECHL clubs that sent Mike Monfredo to the Rush for forward Josh MacDonald.
The Rush traded his rights to the Walleye on Oct. 24. Gibson had been playing overseas with the Milton Keynes Lightning this season, scoring one goal and adding four assists in 10 games.