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Belak dealt to Panthers for pick

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

By Dan Rosen - 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

Quote of the Day

You could feel it. You could feel that they were going after each other and trying to win the game for their team.

— Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom on Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals, in which Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin and Penguins forward Sidney Crosby each scored hat tricks
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