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Stanley Cup Final

Belak dealt to Panthers for pick

Tuesday, 02.26.2008 / 1:51 PM / 2008 Trade Deadline

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Wade Belak
The rebuilding plan for the Toronto Maple Leafs will start with a 2008 fifth round draft pick acquired from the Florida Panthers. Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher was able to acquire the pick in exchange for little-used, but very-much appreciated winger Wade Belak.

Belak is a career enforcer, and hardly a scorer. The goal he scored on Dec. 4 against Nashville snapped a streak of 143 NHL games without one. But, at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds Belak could provide some muscle for the Panthers this season.

The Panthers have fallen six points out of a playoff spot with a 1-3-1 record in their last five games. They have 63 points, which ironically ties them with the Maple Leafs for 12th in the Conference.

Belak, though, is a pending unrestricted free agent following this season, so he may only be a quick rental for the Panthers. He had 66 penalty minutes in 30 games for the Leafs this season.

The key for the Maple Leafs is acquiring a draft pick in return for a player who averages only four minutes of ice time per game and is quite often a healthy scratch. The 2008 NHL Entry Draft is supposed to be one of the deepest in recent memory.

Contact Dan Rosen at drosen@nhl.com.

Quote of the Day

If you want to prove people wrong, you've just got to go out and do it. Yeah, we blew 3-2 series leads the last two years, but no one is going remember that if we go out there on Saturday night and beat these guys and go play in the Stanley Cup Final. We need to get back to work and we'll start to do that tomorrow.

— Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri following a loss to the Blackhawks in Game 6 on Wednesday