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NHL TRADES Flyers get Amonte as boost to offense



Published: Fri, March 14, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The move came just days after Toronto acquired Owen Nolan from San Jose.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Philadelphia Flyers' sputtering offense got a big boost Monday when Tony Amonte was acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes on the eve of the NHL's trading deadline.

Goals have been scarce for the Flyers, who have been coping with the lengthy absences of injured forwards John LeClair, Simon Gagne and Justin Williams.

Philadelphia general manager Bob Clarke made the deal that cost the Flyers left wing Guillaume Lefebvre, their second-round draft pick in the 2004 draft and Atlanta's third-round pick this season, which the Flyers got in a trade last year.

Disappointing in Phoenix

Amonte was in the first year of a deal with the Coyotes that will pay the three-time 40-goal scorer $24 million over four years. He was signed as a free agent last summer away from the Chicago Blackhawks, with whom Amonte spent 8 1/2 seasons. He was disappointing in his short stay in Phoenix with 13 goals and 23 assists.

"He's not just a scorer. He's got great speed, great hands. He can kill penalties and can be used in the last couple of minutes of a period or a game," Clarke said. "This is a real top acquisition to our club."

The deadline is today at 3 p.m., but many teams were active Monday when eight trades were completed, none more so than the bankrupt Buffalo Sabres, who pulled off three deals.

The New Jersey Devils and Dallas Stars, the Western Conference leader, each made two trades, as did Phoenix and the NHL points leaders, the Ottawa Senators.

Late Monday night, after a 2-2 tie with Colorado, the Coyotes sent center Daniel Briere and a third-round choice in the 2004 draft to the Buffalo Sabres for center Chris Gratton and a fourth-round pick next year.

The Atlantic Division-leading Devils acquired defenseman D Richard Smehlik and a conditional pick in next year's draft from the Atlanta Thrashers for a fourth-round selection in this year's draft. New Jersey also obtained right wing Grant Marshall from Columbus for another conditional draft pick next year.

Uncertain future

Forward Stu Barnes and defenseman Rob Ray, both Sabres fixtures, were dealt away from Buffalo's team that has the third-fewest points in the NHL and faces a very uncertain future. Gratton would be the next to go hours later.

Barnes, the Sabres' captain, was sent to Dallas for center Mike Ryan and Dallas' second-round selection in the 2003 draft. Ray is off to another bankrupt club in Ottawa for future considerations. He spent all of his 14 NHL seasons in Buffalo, where he racked up few points and lots of penalty minutes.

In other moves, Chicago traded defenseman Lyle Odelein to Dallas for defenseman Sami Helenius and a conditional draft pick, and Ottawa acquired center C Bob Wren from Nashville for future considerations.

The Flyers' acquisition of Amonte comes just days after Toronto, a possible first-round playoff opponent of Philadelphia, made a deal to get tough forward Owen Nolan from San Jose.

The Sharks also traded defenseman Bryan Marchment to Colorado on Saturday.




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