The Edmonton Oilers made a splash on Canada Day with a pair of trades that netted the club rugged forward Erik Cole and prospect Gilbert Brule.
Cole has scored 129 goals and 151 assists in six NHL seasons, all spent with Carolina. The left-winger scored 22 goals and 29 assists last season with the Hurricanes.
Cole, who will turn 30 next season, demonstrated his guts against the Oilers in the Stanley Cup final two years ago, coming back from a serious neck injury for the last two games of the series, won by Carolina.
The Oswego, N.Y., native also represented the United States at the 2006 Olympics.
The price for Cole was defenceman Joni Pitkanen, who spent just one season with Edmonton and became expendable after the Oilers acquired Lubomir Visnovsky late Sunday.
Pitkanen tallied eight goals and 18 assists in 63 games for the Oilers last season after spending the previous three years in Philadelphia. He was part of a multi-player deal this time last year, with long-time Oilers captain Jason Smith going to the Flyers.
Hope for Brule
The Oilers hope Brule can regain some of the prowess that made him a junior star, as they acquired the forward from the Columbus Blue Jackets on for veteran Raffi Torres.
Brule has scored only 12 goals and 20 assists in 146 NHL games. The 21-year-old was born in Edmonton but grew up in British Columbia, starring for the Vancouver Giants in the Western Hockey League.
Columbus drafted the centre sixth overall in the 2005 NHL entry draft, and he recorded 30 points in 18 games for the Giants as the team reached the 2006 Memorial Cup.
Injuries have hampered the five-foot-10 Brule's development as an NHL regular, and with Blue Jackets prospects like Derek Brassard and recent draft pick Nikita Filatov in the pipeline, he became expendable in Columbus.
Going the other way is a popular and speedy left-winger who played four seasons with the Oilers.
Torres, who turns 27 in October, was one of several Edmonton veterans to suffer a serious injury during the past season, in which he was limited to 32 games after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
The Toronto native scored a career high 27 goals in 2005-06 and added four goals and seven assists in 22 playoff games as the Oilers reached the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final.
Selected fifth overall by the New York Islanders in the 2000 draft, Torres was traded to Edmonton three years later. For his career, he has scored 67 goals and 59 assists in 307 regular season games.
Edmonton general manager Kevin Lowe continues to remould his team and may not be done yet. Lowe picked up defenceman Visnovsky from Los Angeles on Sunday in a deal that saw forward Jarret Stoll and defenceman Matt Greene go to the Kings.
The Oilers will save some money from the latest transaction. Torres signed a three-year deal last summer and earned $1.6 million US for the year, while Brule earned $850,000.