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Phoenix Coyotes shake up blue line, waive D Rostislav Klesla after recent struggles

Colorado Avalanche's Cody McLeod (55) gathers the puck before a backhand shot for a goal in front of Phoenix Coyotes' Rostislav Klesla (16), of the Czech Republic, during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, in Glendale, Ariz. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Ross D. Franklin

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Colorado Avalanche's Cody McLeod (55) gathers the puck before a backhand shot for a goal in front of Phoenix Coyotes' Rostislav Klesla (16), of the Czech Republic, during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, in Glendale, Ariz. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Ross D. Franklin

GLENDALE, Ariz. - The Phoenix Coyotes have waived Rostislav Klesla, once considered one of their top defencemen.

If no team claims Klesla by Wednesday, he will be assigned to Portland of the AHL.

Klesla had been one of Phoenix's core defencemen after arriving in the desert in a 2011 trade with Columbus. He appeared in 65 games in the 2011-12 season, when the Coyotes reached the Western Conference finals for the first time, and played 38 games during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, scoring two goals with six assists.

Klesla missed the first three games this season with a concussion sustained during a preseason game, and his minutes gradually declined over the past few weeks as the Coyotes struggled defensively. He has one goal and two assists in 15 games this season.

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