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Rangers Land Helminen, Valiquette, Pick from Oilers

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers


New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has acquired forward Dwight Helminen, a second round selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and goaltender Stephen Valiquette from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for center Petr Nedved and goaltender Jussi Markkanen.

Helminen, 20, has skated in 32 games this season for University of Michigan Wolverines of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA), registering 13 goals and 10 assists for 23 points, along with four penalty minutes. He currently ranks second on the Wolverines with 13 goals and ranks fifth on the team with 23 points. On January 10, Helminen tallied a career-high four goals on four shots in Michigan's 7-1 victory over Ohio State. He was named CCHA Offensive Player of the Week with a three-point series against Ohio State on November 14 and 15.

The 6-0, 200-pounder has appeared in 110 career contests with the University of Michigan Wolverines, collecting 40 goals and 34 assists for 74 points, along with 48 penalty minutes. During the 2002-03 regular season, he registered 17 goals and 16 assists for 33 points. He finished the season tied for the third on the team with 33 points and posted career-bests in all scoring categories. In 2003 post-season play, Helminen tied for the team lead in post-season scoring with six goals and one assist for seven points, leading to his selection to the CCHA Super Six All-Tournament team. Internationally, Helminen has represented the United States at the 2002 and 2003 IIHF World Junior Championships.

The native of Hancock, Michigan was originally Edmonton's eighth round selection, 244th overall, in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

Valiquette, 26, has appeared in 35 matches this season with the Toronto Roadrunners of the American Hockey League (AHL), posting a record of 14-14-5, along with a 2.59 goals against average. He also appeared in one game with Edmonton this season. In seven career NHL matches with Edmonton and the New York Islanders, he has registered a record of 2-0-0, along with a 2.32 goals against average.

The 6-5, 205-pound goaltender signed as a free agent with Edmonton on July 20, 2003. He was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Kings as their eighth choice, 190th overall, in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.

Nedved, 32, has appeared in 65 games for the Rangers this season, registering 14 goals and 17 assists for 31 points, along with 42 penalty minutes. In 478 career games with the Rangers, Nedved collected 149 goals and 202 assists for 351 points, along with 312 penalty minutes.

Markkanen, 28, has appeared in 26 matches with New York this season, posting a mark of 8-12-1, along with a 2.56 goals against average.
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