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Last original Jacket traded to Phoenix

NHL.com @NHL

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Columbus Blue Jackets have dealt their last original player, trading defenseman Rostislav Klesla to the Phoenix Coyotes for left wing Scottie Upshall and defenseman Sami Lepisto.

General manager Scott Howson announced the trade on Thursday, two hours before the NHL's trade deadline.

Columbus also sent minor-league forward Dane Byers, acquired from the New York Rangers in November, to the Coyotes.

Klesla, hampered by injuries the past two seasons, was the expansion club's first-round pick (fourth overall) in the 2000 player draft. The 28-year-old had three goals and seven assists in 45 games this year with a +10 rating.

He has three years remaining on a contract that pays him almost $3 million a year, through the 2013-14 season.

Klesla has size (6-foot-3, 221 pounds) to help the Coyotes' blue line.

"It's a great opportunity," Klesla said on TSN. "I've heard good things about the team there. They're pretty tough to play against when I played them. It's pretty exciting. I'll try to do as much as I can to get them into the playoffs."

The trade partners are teams fighting for spots in the crowded Western Conference standings.

Upshall, 27, was a No. 1 pick in the 2002 draft (sixth overall). He had 16 goals and 11 assists this season and 80 goals and 85 assists in 340 career games with Nashville, Philadelphia and Phoenix. The Blue Jackets, badly in need of players with an edge, coveted a player who was tough in addition to having offensive skills.

Upshall last week was suspended two games by the league for a hit on Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Oskars Bartulis. Upshall received a two-minute boarding penalty, and Bartulis left the game with a shoulder injury.

Lepisto, a 26-year old from Finland, has four goals and seven assists this year and five goals and six assists in 131 career games. He was a third-round pick (66th overall) in the 2004 draft by Washington.

Upshall, making $2.25 million this year, is an unrestricted free agent after the season. Lepisto, a restricted free agent after the season, is making $800,000.

Byers, 25, scored 12 goals with 22 assists in 64 American Hockey League games with Springfield and Connecticut this season.

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