The Columbus Blue Jackets acquired some much need offensive heft on Wednesday, obtaining three-time 40-goal scorer Marian Gaborik from the New York Rangers.
The 31-year-old Gaborik has struggled this season, with just nine goals and 10 assists in 35 games.
"I didn't have fun this year," Gaborik said during a conference call. "I don't think the whole team has at all, too, so I'm looking forward to the challenge."
The Slovakian right wing scored 41 goals last season, but managed just five in 20 playoff contests as he dealt with a shoulder injury that required surgery in the offseason.
"I had a lot of fun in New York but the way this kind of played out, actually one team wanted me and indicated they are going in the right direction and wanted to trade for me," he said. "When I was in New York we didn't really perform the way we should, myself included.
Gaborik waived a no-movement clause in order to allow the deal to be completed.
"They're a team that really wants me. I made my decision after that," Gaborik said. "It wasn't the way anybody expected."
Gaborik has 333 goals and 333 assists in 757 games over 12 seasons with New York and, previously, Minnesota.
"I believe the deal worked for both teams because I think he is going to play really well," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "We get a number of assets and some depth onto our team moving forward."
"I am going to miss him," Tortorella said. "He is a good player, and his game is beginning to come, but it gives us some flexibility moving forward. We're filling out the middle of our lineup with the deal. We get some good players there with some grind, with some skill.
He has one more year on a contract that will play $7.5 million US, with a cap hit of the same amount.
New York receives former first round picks Derick Brassard and John Moore, as well as forward Derek Dorsett.
"I am hoping it's going to help us with some new juice," Tortorella said. "We need to find a way to win, and we're hoping they're going to help us. The deal helps us in depth, period — forwards and defence."
Centre Brassard has seven goals and 11 assists on the season. Right wing Dorsett could be out for the season with a broken clavicle, while Moore has one assist in 17 games.
The deal represents the first major transaction completed by Jarmo Kekalainen, Blue Jackets general manager.
"Throughout this process our focus was to add a player who could provide a boost to our offence, improve our goal scoring and power play, and we identified Marian Gaborik as the player we wanted," Kekalainen said in a statement. "He has been an elite goal scorer in this league for many years and we are very excited to have him."
Kekalainen's predecessor Scott Howson worked on a trade last summer with New York counterpart Glen Sather which saw longtime Columbus force Rick Nash head to Broadway, with the likes of Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinksy heading the other way.