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Flock of deals for Ducks

by Adam Kimelman

The Anaheim Ducks acquired defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron from the Islanders for a 2008 third-round pick.
At the crazed trade deadline day of 2007, Anaheim Ducks General Manager Brian Burke mostly sat back and enjoyed the frenzy as a spectator. The only time he stuck his toe in the roiling trade waters was to acquire forward Brad May.

It was a minimum amount of work for a maximum result, as May was a physical contributor in 18 playoff games, ringing up 28 penalty minutes, as the Ducks won the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.

At this year’s trade deadline, Burke once again did a minimal amount of tinkering. The Ducks sat out on the bidding war for the most high-profile players, instead adding depth to an already strong team in hope of bolstering another long Cup run.

The Ducks picked up three players at a cost of one player and four draft picks. Anaheim added backup goalie Jean-Sebastien Aubin from the Los Angeles Kings for a 2008 seventh-round pick; defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron from the New York Islanders for a 2008 third-round pick; and defenseman Jay Leach from the Tampa Bay Lightning for forward Brandon Segal and a 2008 seventh-round pick.

"I felt I did not plan to be active today other than to try and add depth," said Burke. "I believe in our group. I trust our group. In particular, not to put pressure on Dougie Weight, but we got Dougie Weight for a purpose. We don’t think our fans have even gotten to see him yet because he’s been hurt ever since we got him. We’re counting on him to get that second group going. That’s why there was so little activity on our part."

Burke added that he could have made a bigger splash had he been willing to part with the first-round pick he received from Edmonton as compensation for the Oilers' summer signing of restricted free agent Dustin Penner.

"Anaheim could have been the star easily of the trade deadline today by putting the Edmonton pick in play," he said. "We could have blown any other deals out of the water. We could have made all the headlines and grabbed all the hype. In my mind it wasn’t prudent to do it for two reasons. One because we do believe in our group and two, I think that pick is going to end up having tremendous value to this franchise over the next decade."

Aubin gives the Ducks a veteran netminder to compete with rookie Jonas Hiller for the back-up spot behind starter Jean-Sebastien Giguere. In 19 games with the Kings this season, Aubin went 5-6-1 with a 3.19 goals-against average and .886 save percentage. He recently had been sent to the Kings’ American Hockey League club in Manchester, where he played one game.

Hiller had inherited the Ducks’ backup job in October when Ilya Bryzgalov was waived, but Hiller has played just three games in February. In his first season in North America, the 26-year-old has a 6-4-1 record, with a 2.33 goals-against average and .911 save percentage.

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Originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the third round (No. 76 overall) of the 1995 Draft, Aubin, a 30-year-old in his ninth NHL season, also has played for Pittsburgh and Toronto. In 218 NHL games, he has compiled an 80-83-16 record with seven shutouts, a 2.93 GAA and .900 save percentage.

He also gained a measure of notoriety for appearing in an AMP Energy Drink commercial with Buffalo netminder Ryan Miller.

Bringing in Bergeron adds to an already strong, deep Ducks blue line. A power-play specialist, the 27-year-old is tied for the League lead among defensemen with eight power-play goals. In 46 games with the Islanders, he had nine goals and 18 points.

Bergeron, who the Islanders acquired from the Edmonton Oilers at last season’s trade deadline, has 48 goals and 127 points in 258 NHL games.

Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 220 pounds, Leach gives the Ducks a big body for defensive depth. Leach played two games for the Lightning in late December, going scoreless. In 55 games with Norfolk, Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, Leach had 11 points and 54 penalty minutes.

Segal had spent all season with the Ducks’ AHL team in Portland. The 24-year-old right wing had five goals, 14 points and 46 penalty minutes in 54 games.

The Ducks also dealt forward Brandon Bochenski to the Nashville Predators for future considerations. Anaheim had acquired Bochenski from the Boston Bruins on Jan. 2, dealing away Shane Hnidy and a 2008 sixth-round pick. In 12 games with Anaheim, Bochenski had two goals and four points.

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