New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has acquired defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh from the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in exchange for San Jose's third round pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft (previously acquired by the Rangers from the Sharks for Ville Nieminen).
The seven-time All-Star and two-time Olympian currently ranks fifth among active defensemen in goals (161) and points (531) and is sixth in power play goals (63) since 1992-93. He has appeared in 17 games with Anaheim this season, registering three goals and three assists, along with eight penalty minutes. He skated in five games with Latvia at the 2006 Winter Olympics, collecting one goal and three assists. His three assists tied for the team lead, while he ranked second on the Latvian squad in scoring with four points.
Ozolinsh was a finalist for the Norris Trophy in 1996-97, when he set career-highs in assists (45) and points (68) and led the NHL in power play points (42) by a defenseman. He tied for fifth in scoring among all NHL defensemen in 1997-98 (51 points), finished seventh in scoring among all NHL defensemen in 1999-00 (52 points) and ranked fifth among all NHL blueliners in 2001-02 (52 points).
A veteran of 13 NHL seasons, Ozolinsh has skated in 796 career NHL games with San Jose, Colorado, Carolina, Florida and Anaheim, collecting 161 goals and 370 assists for 531 points, along with 586 penalty minutes.
In 134 career playoff games, Ozolinsh has tallied 23 goals and 67 assists for 90 points, along with 125 penalty minutes. Among playoff leaders, he ranks second in goals (23), third in assists (67) and third in points (90) among all NHL defensemen since 1992-93. In 1995-96, he led the NHL in playoff scoring among defensemen (19 points) in 22 games with Colorado, helping the team capture the Stanley Cup.
From 1996-97 to 2000-01, Ozolinsh appeared in 66 playoff games with Colorado and Carolina, tallying 13 goals and 35 assists for 48 points. In 2002-03, he registered two goals and six assists, along with 10 penalty minutes in 21 post-season contests, helping the Ducks to the Stanley Cup Finals. His six assists and 10 points led all Anaheim defensemen, while his plus-eight rating in the playoffs led the team.
The 6-3, 220-pounder has also represented Latvia twice at the Winter Olympics (2002 and 2006), registering one goal and seven assists for eight points in six games during the two tournaments.
The native of Riga, Latvia was originally San Jose's second round draft choice, 30th overall, in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft.