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Habs acquire D Shawn Belle

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

MONTREAL --  Canadiens GM Bob Gainey announced Friday  the acquisition of defenseman Shawn Belle from the Minnesota Wild, in return for forward Corey Locke.

Belle, 23, played in the American Hockey League for the past three seasons. In 2007-08, he registered three points (one goal, two assists) and 74 penalty minutes in 63 games with the Houston Aeros. The 6-foot-2, 232-pound defenseman played nine games for the Wild during the 2006-07 season, scoring an assist (0-1-1).

The Edmonton, Alberta native Belle was the St. Louis Blues’ first round selection, 30th overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. His rights were traded to Dallas for Jason Bacashihua on June 25, 2004. The Wild acquired him on March 9, 2006 with Martin Skoula, in return for Willie Mitchell and a second round pick in 2007.

A teammate of Carey Price with the WHL's Tri-City Americans from 2003 to 2005, Belle was named to the Canadian national team four times during his junior career. He earned a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2005 World Junior Championships.

Corey Locke was selected by the Canadiens in the fourth round, 113th overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He spent the past four seasons with the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs and played his first NHL game with the Canadiens on January 8 against Chicago.

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