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Ducks Acquire Visnovsky from Edmonton for Whitney

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
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The Ducks have acquired defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for defenseman Ryan Whitney and a sixth-round selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Lubomir Visnovsky is a skilled defenseman with a proven track record,” said Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray. “We feel this is a major addition for us, not only for our stretch drive but going forward.”

Visnovsky will be available to join the Ducks for practice Thursday.

The 33-year-old (8/11/76), appeared in 57 games with the Oilers this season, collecting 10-22=32 points with 56 penalty minutes (PIM). He led all club defensemen and ranked third overall in scoring. In addition, he currently ranks tied for seventh among league defensemen in goals. He appeared in his 600th career NHL contest on Feb. 4 at Minnesota. Visnovsky recently appeared in his fourth career Olympic Winter Games (1998-2010), representing his native Slovakia. In seven contests in Vancouver, Visnovsky earned 2-1=3 points, helping Slovakia to a fourth-place finish.

"I’m very happy to come to the Ducks and to come back to California," Visnovsky told reporters via conference call this afternoon. "Anaheim is in 11th place right now and they’re three points out of the playoffs. I looked at the schedule and we play more games at home, which will be good for us. Anaheim is great offensively and has great forwards, a lot of great players. I’ll try to help this team get into the playoffs."

The 5-10, 188-pound blueliner had a career year in 2005-06 when he put up 17-50=67 points in 80 contests with the Los Angeles Kings. He scored his first career hat trick on Nov. 2, 2005 at Dallas and ranked tied for fourth in scoring among league defensemen that season. Visnovsky was the first defenseman in Kings history to lead the club in scoring. He was named to the NHL All-Star Game the next season (2006-07). Visnovsky was acquired by the Oilers from Los Angeles on June 29, 2008 in exchange for Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene.

"I know the area, I know the weather and I have lots of friends in Southern California," Visnovsky said. "It will be easier for me and for my family. And I know a lot of the guys because I’ve had lots of games against Anaheim when I was in L.A."

Selected by Los Angeles in the fourth round (118th overall) of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, the Topolcany, Slovakia native was a member of the NHL All-Rookie Team in 2001 after notching 7-32=39 points in 81 contests with Los Angeles. In 606 career NHL contests, Visnovsky has collected 88-254=342 points with 260 PIM and a +13 rating. Prior to his NHL career, Visnovsky played six seasons (1994-00) with HC Slovan Bratislava, scoring 67-73=140 points in 243 games. He has been named Slovkia’s best defenseman on six separate occasions (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005) and was voted Slovakia’s best player in 2005.

Whitney, 27 (2/19/83), has scored 4-24=28 points in 62 games with Anaheim this season, ranking second in scoring among club defensemen. He was a member of the silver medal-winning Team USA squad at the Olympic Winter Games last month, appearing in all six contests. In 335 career NHL games, he has scored 38-150=189 points. In 2008, he helped Pittsburgh to a Stanley Cup Final appearance, eventually falling to the Detroit Red Wings in six games. Selected by Pittsburgh in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Whitney was acquired by Anaheim from the Penguins in exchange for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi on Feb. 26, 2009.
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