|Columbus deals Brule for Torres|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 01 July 2008 07:58|
Torres gives the Blue Jackets a skilled hand who has three full seasons and parts of three others in the league. He missed most of last season after knee surgery.
``Raffi Torres is an experienced NHL player who combines a physical presence with the ability to score goals,'' Columbus general manager Scott Howson said. ``He will also bring to our club the experience of someone who had played deep into the playoffs as he was a significant contributor to the Oilers' run to the 2006 Stanley Cup finals.''
The Blue Jackets are the only NHL team to have never made it to the playoffs.
Brule, thrust into the Columbus lineup two years ago at the age of 19, struggled with the Blue Jackets. He managed just 12 goals and 20 assists in 146 games while playing on the third and fourth lines.
The trade was confirmed by both teams shortly before the noon deadline for free-agent signings.
In another deal, the Oilers acquired forward Erik Cole from Carolina for offensive-minded defenseman Joni Pitkanen. The 29-year-old Cole had 22 goals and 29 assists in his seventh season with the Hurricanes and helped lead them to the Stanley Cup two years ago.
Torres will likely get a look on the Blue Jackets' No. 2 line. Nikolai Zherdev, whose name had popped up in trade rumors, might be on the opposite wing with another recent trade acquisition, R.J. Umberger, at center. The Blue Jackets picked up Umberger and a draft pick for two draft choices on June 20.
The Blue Jackets were expected to be in the bidding for a first-line center and possibly two defensemen in the free-agent market.
Torres, 26, played just 32 games last year for the Oilers after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a game in December. He has 67 goals and 59 assists in 307 career games.
Brule, 21, had one goal and eight assists in 61 games a year ago while trying to find himself. He had nine goals and 10 assists a year earlier in 78 games.
Both players were first-round draft picks, Torres going No. 5 to the New York Islanders in 2000 and Brule at No. 6 in 2005.
Torres has two seasons left on a contract which will pay him a total of more than $4.5 million. Brule can become a restricted free agent after next season and made less than $1 million.