Panthers Grab Three At Deadline

Tuesday, 02.26.2008 / 6:04 PM ET / Transactions
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Panthers Grab Three At Deadline
Wade Belak (Getty Images)
By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com

The Panthers started taking the shape Tuesday afternoon GM and coach Jacques Martin has wanted all season – bigger, faster and, yes, finally, a whole lot tougher.

The Panthers made three moves during Tuesday’s NHL trade deadline that Martin hopes will make them a contender for the playoffs this year and the future.

The Panthers acquired tough guy Wade Belak and hard-hitting forward Chad Kilger from the Maple Leafs for draft picks while trading Ruslan Salei to Colorado in exchange for iron man defenseman Karlis Skrastins.

Due to immigration issues, Martin wasn’t sure whether Kilger and/or Belak would be in uniform Wednesday when the Panthers play host at BankAtlantic Center to the Maple Leafs.

Belak, a 6-5, 220-pounder from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, has had six fighting majors this year (eight last season) in 30 games while averaging 4:02 a game. He has one goal (seven lifetime). The Panthers gave up a fifth-round draft pick for Belak, 31, who was drafted 12th overall in the 1994 Entry Draft by the Quebec Nordiques. Belak has played in Colorado, Calgary and, the past seven seasons, in Toronto.

Chad Kilger (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Kilger, drafted fourth overall by the Ducks in 1995, has 10 goals and seven assists in 53 games this season. After playing on six different teams his first nine years in the league, Kilger had been a Maple Leaf since being claimed off waivers from Montreal in 2004.

Kilger, 31, scored 14 goals for the Leafs last season (28 points) and 17 in 2005-06.

Skrastins, a 6-1, 210-pound stay-at-home defenseman is best known for breaking the NHL record for most consecutive games played by an NHL defenseman. He eclipsed the previous mark of 486 games last season set by Tim Horton. The 33-year-old defenseman, a native of Latvia drafted by Nashville in the eighth round of the 1998 Entry Draft, has a goal and three assists this season in 43 games with 20 penalty minutes.

Martin addressed the acquisition of the three players to the South Florida media.

“I feel that we addressed several issues we’ve had,” Martin said. “We’ve continued developing our plan which is important. The first one is the acquisition of Wade Belak. We’ve talked numerous times this season, (and) I’ve had questions from our fans, what about our toughness? We’ve acquired an individual now that legitimately is a tough guy. A heavyweight. He can also play. Great character. He played with Joe (Panther special assistant Nieuwendyk). He knows him. He has some flexibility like Monty (Steve Montador). He’s become more of a forward now.

Karlis Skrastins
“As you know we lost (Richard) Zednik a couple weeks ago. I think with Kilger, he’s an individual who can play with Olli (Jokinen) on the right side or left. He’s a big guy who can get some pucks out for him. He’s got good speed, he’s a good skater. He’s a first-round pick.

“I felt for what we paid for Salei ($3.02 million), I wasn’t happy. We got an individual (in Skrastins) who is a heart-and-soul individual.”

Despite being six games out of first place in the Southeast Division and the eighth playoff spot, Martin believes the Panthers are heading in the right direction.

“We have people coming back from injuries with a couple weeks,” he said. “(Stephen) Weiss, (Radek) Dvorak, (Jozef) Stumpel, (Noah) Welch, and (Mike) Van Ryn. That’s going to be a big part for our push. Now with the acquisition of Belak and Kilger for the toughness part, we’re set to push toward the playoffs.”


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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