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Flames acquire D Jordan Leopold from Avalanche

NHL.com @NHL

DENVER (AP) -The reeling Colorado Avalanche became sellers for the first time at the trade deadline, sending defenseman Jordan Leopold to the Calgary Flames on Wednesday.

The Avalanche picked up defensemen Lawrence Nycholat and Ryan Wilson, plus a second-round pick in the 2009 draft.

The Avalanche are usually buyers this time of year, but the team has tumbled into last place in the Western Conference with a 28-35-1 record. This is the first time the team has had a losing mark this late in the season since the franchise relocated in 1995-96.

Shaky goaltending from Peter Budaj and Andrew Raycroft and injuries to players like captain Joe Sakic and Paul Stastny have played a role in the Avalanche's plunge.

Not that Colorado was looking for convenient excuses.

"It's an awful year this year, we all know that," Ian Laperriere said. "It's no secret."

That's why the Avalanche turned into sellers, dealing Leopold.

Ryan Smyth, Milan Hejduk and Laperriere were also rumored to be on the trading block.

Now, they're staying put on a team that's in the midst of a five-game skid.

"I want to be on this team," Hejduk said. "I still feel like there's lots of talent on this team. ... It's just a weird season - up and down. Lately it's more like down. It's really frustrating."

Leopold was one of Colorado's top defenseman, playing all 64 games for the Avalanche this season, with six goals and 14 assists.

He'll be returning to familiar surroundings. Leopold played three seasons for the Flames before being acquired by Colorado on June 24, 2006.

"Jordan's going to be missed on the ice," Laperriere said. "Personally, he's going to be missed as a friend."

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