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Rangers send Gomez to Habs in 6-player deal

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
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Higgins Excited to Be Coming Home

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has acquired forward Christopher Higgins and defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forwards Scott Gomez and Tom Pyatt, and defenseman Mike Busto.

A native of Smithtown, N.Y., and former star at Yale, Christopher Higgins had a career-high 27 goals in his third NHL season with the Canadiens in 2007-08.
VIDEO: Higgins Highlights
Higgins, 26, has skated in 282 regular season contests with Montreal, recording 84 goals and 67 assists for 151 points, along with 96 penalty minutes.  The 6-0, 205-pounder has eclipsed the 20-goal mark three times. In 2007-08, he established career-highs in games played (82), goals (27), assists (25), points (52), power play goals (12), game-winning goals (five), and shots (241).

He led Montreal in shots, tied for second on the team in power play goals and game-winning goals, and ranked third in goals. He was also one of only three Canadiens to skate in all 82 games during the season.  Higgins registered 11 points (six goals and five assists) in the first 13 games of the season, and went on to surpass the 20-goal plateau for the third straight year.

Higgins appeared in 57 games with the Montreal Canadiens this past season, registering 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points, along with 22 penalty minutes.  He tied for second on the team with two shorthanded goals, and placed sixth on the club with 151 shots despite missing 25 games due to injury.

In addition, he led the Canadiens in goals (five) and shots (40) during the month of November.  He tallied his first career hat trick on November 11 vs. Ottawa to cap off a season-high, four-game scoring streak that began on November 1 at the New York Islanders, registering six points (four goals and two assists) over the span.

As a rookie in 2005-06, he led Montreal with three shorthanded goals.  In addition, Higgins has registered six goals and five assists for 11 points in 22 career postseason contests with Montreal.

The Smithtown, New York native was originally Montreal’s first round choice, 14th overall, in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

Defenseman Ryan McDonagh, a junior at the University of Wisconsin, was the 12th overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
McDonagh, 20, skated in 36 contests with the University of Wisconsin Badgers of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) this past season, registering five goals and 11 assists for 16 points, along with 59 penalty minutes.  The 6-1, 212-pounder established career-highs in assists (11), points (16) and penalty minutes (59) in his second season with the Badgers.

The St. Paul, Minnesota native was originally Montreal’s first round choice, 12th overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Valentenko, 21, split the 2008-09 season between Dynamo Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) and the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League (AHL).  The 6-2, 220-pounder collected one assist in eight games with Dynamo Moscow after beginning the season in Hamilton, where he tallied two assists in four games.

The Nizhnekamsk, Russia native was originally Montreal’s fifth round choice, 139th overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

Gomez, 29, appeared in 77 games with the Rangers this past season, collecting 16 goals and 42 assists for 58 points, along with 60 penalty minutes.  He was acquired by the Rangers as a free agent on July 1, 2007.

Pyatt, 22, appeared in 73 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL) this past season, registering 15 goals and 22 assists for 37 points, along with 22 penalty minutes.

Busto, 23, skated in 54 games with the Charlotte Checkers of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) this past season, recording three goals and eight assists for 11 points, along with 41 penalty minutes. 
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