Ottawa sends Vermette to Columbus
The Ottawa Senators traded forward Antoine Vermette to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday.
In exchange, Ottawa receives goaltender Pascal LeClaire and a second-round pick in the 2009 NHL draft.
Vermette, 26, has nine goals and 19 assists in 62 games this season for the Senators. In five full seasons with Ottawa, he recorded 80 goals and 87 assists in 359 games.
He is signed through next season, when he will make $3 million, before he becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2010.
In Vermette, the Blue Jackets receive an accomplished face-off man that can play both centre and on the wing. He will likely play on Columbus' top line with wingers Kristian Huselius and Rick Nash.
Vermette had spent his entire career with the Senators and he had mixed emotions about leaving.
"It's not an easy thing," said Vermette. "It's not something you're used to. No matter all the times you've heard your names mentioned in the rumours the last couple of years, it doesn't make you 100 per cent prepared for that situation."
Leclaire, 26, has played in 12 games for the Jackets this season, posting a 4-6-1 record with a 3.83 goals against average.
He is currently sidelined after undergoing ankle surgery, but will make a full recovery. He doesn't expect to return to action this season, though.
"It's unfortunate that it comes right at the end of the season," said Leclaire. "I doubt that I'll play this year, but never say never."
The Senators hope that Leclaire, who has been displaced as the Blue Jackets starter by rookie Steve Mason, will be the answer to their goaltending problems.
Leclaire, the eighth overall pick in the 2001 draft, has a career record of 45-55-12, with a 2.82 GAA.
With files from Canadian Press