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Press Release: HURRICANES ACQUIRE HEDICAN, ADAMS AND PROSPECT MALEC FROM FLORIDA PANTHERS

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes

OZOLINSH, RITCHIE DEALT TO FLORIDA IN TRADE

RALEIGH, NC (Jan. 16, 2002) - Jim Rutherford, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, today announced the team has acquired defenseman Bret Hedican, center Kevyn Adams, defensive prospect Tomas Malec and a conditional second round draft pick from the Florida Panthers in exchange for defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh and center Byron Ritchie.

“This trade is a good fit for our hockey team,” Rutherford said. “Bret Hedican is a really mobile defenseman who will balance out our defense. Kevyn Adams is a quality player and an excellent penalty killer.”

Hedican, 31, is now in his 11th NHL season. A native of St. Paul, Minn., Hedican (6-2, 205 lbs.) has played in 619 career NHL games for St. Louis, Vancouver and Florida, totaling 187 points (35g, 152a). The left-shooting defenseman had 10 points (3g, 7a) in 31 games for the Panthers this season. Hedican, who played collegiate hockey at St. Cloud State, totaled 20 points (5g, 15a) for the Panthers last season. Hedican was part of the trade that brought Pavel Bure to Florida from Vancouver on Jan. 17, 1999. He played for the United States in the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France, helping Team USA to a fourth-place finish.

Adams, 27, is in his fifth NHL season. A first round draft choice of the Boston Bruins in 1993, Adams has tallied 54 points (20g, 34a) in 180 career NHL games with Toronto, Columbus and Florida. Born in Washington, D.C., Adams (6-2, 195 lbs.) had 12 points (4g, 8a) in 44 games for the Panthers in 2001-02. Adams played collegiate hockey at the Miami University (Ohio) and posted career-best numbers last season, tallying 29 points (11g, 18a) in 78 games with Florida and Columbus.

Malec, 19, was selected by Florida in the third round (64th overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. A native of Skalica, Slovakia, Malec (6-2, 193 lbs.) has tallied 101 points (25g, 76a) and 313 penalty minutes in 102 career games for Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Malec was selected Defensive Rookie of the Year in the QMJHL in 2000-01 after notching 63 points (13g, 50a) in 64 games to lead all QMJHL rookie defensemen in scoring. He has 38 points (12g, 26a) and 115 penalty minutes for Rimouski this season.

“We had our eye on Malec in the draft,” said Rutherford. “We believe he is a really good defensive prospect who will have a chance to play here in a couple of years.”

Ozolinsh had scored 23 points (4g, 19a) in 46 games for Carolina this season. In two seasons with Carolina, he totaled 67 points (16g, 51a) and 105 penalty minutes in 118 games. Ritchie, who was called up to Carolina from Lowell of the American Hockey League (AHL) on Jan. 5, had not scored a point in four games with Carolina this season. He played in 33 career games with the Hurricanes, totaling two points (0g, 2a) and 19 penalty minutes.

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