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Flyers Acquire Defenseman Lasse Kukkonen

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
Kyle Calder traded to Chicago

(February 26) - The Philadelphia Flyers announced that they have acquired 6'1", 190-pound defenseman Lasse Kukkonen (LA-she koo-KOH-nuhn) and a third round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for left wing Kyle Calder, according to General Manager Paul Holmgren.

"With Kyle's pending unrestricted free agent status coming up, we did make an attempt to sign him, but it didn't look like we were going to get it done before the trade deadline tomorrow," said Holmgren in making the announcement. "We just felt that we couldn't afford to take a chance and get nothing in return for an asset like Kyle. We did what we needed to do.

"Kukkonen is a player who played a couple of years with Joni Pitkanen back in Finland a few years ago. He is 25 years old, moves the puck extremely well and is averaging over 16 minutes a game (16:35) for the Blackhawks. He is just a real steady defender. He is a nice addition to our team."

Kukkonen, 25, recorded five goals and nine assists for 14 points and 30 penalty minutes in 54 games for the Blackhawks this season. He was second on the team in blocked shots with 98.

Over parts of two NHL seasons with Chicago (2003-04 and 2006-07), Kukkonen has registered five goals and 10 assists for 15 points and 34 penalty minutes in 64 regular season games. Last season, Kukkonen posted 27 points (11G,16A) and 38 penalty minutes in 56 regular season games for Karpat (Finland). His plus +30 rating led the SM-Liiga League (Finland). He added 12 points (5G,7A) in 11 games as Karpat won the SM-Liiga championship. A native of Oulu, Finland, Kukkonen was a member of the Finnish National Team for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games and the 2006 World Championships.

He was drafted by the Blackhawks in the fifth round (151st overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Calder, 28, registered nine goals and 12 assists for 21 points and 36 penalty minutes in 59 games for the Flyers this season. He was acquired by the Flyers from Chicago in exchange for Michal Handzus on August 4, 2006.
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