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Rangers Trade Leetch to Toronto for Prospects, Picks

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has acquired defenseman Maxim Kondratiev, center Jarkko Immonen, a first round draft selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and a second round selection in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft in exchange for defenseman Brian Leetch and a conditional draft choice.

Kondratiev, 21, has skated in 23 games with Lada Togliatti of the Russian Hockey League, registering two goals and three assists for five points, along with 53 penalty minutes. He has also appeared in seven games with Toronto earlier this season, registering two penalty minutes. Additionally, he skated in 18 matches with the St. John’s Maple Leafs of the American Hockey League (AHL), registering three goals and five assists for eight points, along with 10 penalty minutes. The 6-1, 195-pounder has spent over four seasons with Toglatti since 1999.

In international competition, he was a member of Team Russia at the 2002 and 2003 World Junior Championships, helping them capture the gold medal both years and was selected as Russia’s Player of the Game in the 2002 gold medal match.

The native of Togliatti, Russia was originally Toronto’s sixth round choice, 168th overall, in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.

Immonen, 21, has appeared in 50 matches this season with JYP Jyvaskyla of the Finnish Elite League, registering 20 goals and 23 assists for 43 points, along with 28 penalty minutes. He ranks first on the team with 43 points and is second with 23 assists. In 2002-03 he ranked third on the team with 33 points, tallying 10 goals and 23 assists for 33 points in 56 matches, along with 34 penalty minutes.

The 6-1, 200-pound center was originally Toronto’s eighth round choice, 254th overall, in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

Leetch, 36, is second on the Rangers’ all-time scoring list with 981 points and is the franchise leader with 741 career assists. He also ranks first among all franchise defensemen in career goals (240), assists (741) and points (981).
He has appeared in 57 games for the Rangers this season, registering 13 goals and 23 assists for 36 points, along with 24 penalty minutes. In 1,129 career games with the Rangers, Leetch collected 240 goals and 741 assists for 981 points, along with 525 penalty minutes.

The native of Corpus Christi, Texas has enjoyed one of the most distinguished careers in team history, capturing two Norris Trophies in 1992 and 1997, as well as the 1994 Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs most valuable player while helping the Rangers win the Stanley Cup. The 6-0, 185-pounder has also been selected to 11 NHL All-Star Games and was named to the NHL’s First All-Star Team twice (1992, 1997). Leetch was originally drafted by New York as their first round choice, ninth overall, in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft.

"There's a lot of tough deals you have to make," Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather said following the trade. "This certainly ranks right up there with the toughest."

"Brian is not only one of the best players to ever play for the New York Rangers, he's also a classy individual," Sather added. "We feel we did very well with the players we got and the draft choices we got. We felt that going as far as we did go with Toronto was as maximum as we could get. He's got a chance to win the Stanley Cup. He's with a very good club right now and there's nothing but upside for him."

"I thought the time was right to move forward and speed up the rebuilding process," Sather concluded. "We're going ahead with a new philosophy."
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