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by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes

Saturday, June 27, 2009

GLENDALE, ARIZONA -- Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney announced today that the Coyotes have acquired defenseman Sami Lepisto from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a fifth round draft choice in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. The Coyotes also acquired defenseman Shaun Heshka from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for their seventh round choice (187th overall) in the 2009 Entry Draft.

Lepisto, 24, recorded four assists in seven games with the Capitals last season. He also appeared in 70 games with Hershey of the American Hockey League (AHL) where he registered 4-38-42 to lead all Hershey defensemen in scoring. He also ranked T-3rd on the team with a +24 rating and 4th on the team with 38 assists. His 42 points ranked T-11th among all AHL defensemen.

In 2007-08, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Lepisto played in seven games with Washington while collecting his first NHL point (assist) versus Atlanta on March 14, 2008. He also appeared in 55 games for Hershey, registering 4-41-45 to lead the team in assists and rank 9th in scoring among AHL defensemen. His +29 rating led Hershey and ranked 3rd in the AHL. Prior to coming to North America for the 2007-08 season, Lepisto played four seasons of professional hockey in Finland for Jokerit. A native of Espoo, Finland, Lepisto played in seven games for Finland at the 2008 World Championship and won a bronze medal with Team Finland at the 2004 World Junior Championship. Lepisto was originally selected by Washington in the third round (66th overall) of the 2004 Entry Draft.

Heshka, 23, registered 3-23-26 with 25 PIM and a +17 rating in 77 games with Manitoba of the AHL last season. He ranked 2nd on the team in points among defenseman (26) and T-3rd on the team in plus/minus (+17). Heshka also collected five assists in 22 playoff games last season, helping Manitoba advance to the Calder Cup Finals.

The 6-foot-1, 198-pound Heshka has appeared in 211 career AHL games over three seasons with Manitoba, collecting 14-48-62 with 98 PIM and a +36 rating. Prior to his professional career, the native of Melville, Saskatchewan spent three seasons (2003-2006) with Everett of the Western Hockey League (WHL) where he recorded 25-82-107 and 137 PIM in 204 games, along with 5-12-17 in 46 career playoff games. Heshka originally signed with Vancouver as a free agent on July 24, 2006.
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