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Trade deadline brings plenty of deals but no blockbusters


Calgary Flames forward Nigel Dawes (L) gets hit by Minnesota Wild defencemen Marek Zidlicky (3) during the first period of their NHL hockey game in Calgary, Alberta December 11, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Todd Korol
Calgary Flames forward Nigel Dawes (L) gets hit by Minnesota Wild defencemen Marek Zidlicky (3) during the first period of their NHL hockey game in Calgary, Alberta December 11, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Todd Korol

By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - The National Hockey League trade deadline closed with a flurry of deals Wednesday but no blockbusters as teams focused on tweaking their rosters for a playoff push.

A record 31 deals involving 54 players and 25 draft picks were completed in the final 24 hours before the trade window closed at 1900 (GMT) as general managers beat the bushes in search of role players who might help them land a Stanley Cup.

With many teams making big moves before the mandatory trade freeze around the Olympic break none of the deals came close to matching the February 4 trade that saw the New Jersey Devils land Ilya Kovalchuk from the Atlanta Thrashers.

"I would say it was decidedly quiet," Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke told reporters. "There were no big name players. Lots of activity but it was a low-hum. No big thunder claps."

While there was none of the usual deadline day madness there was no shortage of wheeling-and-dealing.

The NHL's first place team the Washington Capitals were one of the busiest, making four trades and adding some grit and experience for the stretch drive.

They completed two trades with the Carolina Hurricanes who shipped 15-year veteran forward Scott Walker to Washington for a seventh round draft pick and sent defenseman Joe Corvo to D.C. for Brian Pothier, Oskar Osala and a second round selection.

The Capitals also added Eric Belanger, a rugged forward with 13 goals and 35 points, from the Minnesota Wild and hulking blueliner Milan Jurcina from Columbus both for draft picks.

Edmonton and Anaheim swapped Olympic defensemen, the Oilers sending Slovakia's Lubomir Visnovsky (10 goals, 22 assists) south for Team USA blueliner Ryan Whitney (four goals, 24 assists).

Battling to make the playoffs for the first time, the Phoenix Coyotes were the busiest team on deadline day making seven deals, including a swap of promising young players who have not quite lived up to expectations.

The Avalanche sent 24-year-old left winger Wojtek Wolski (17 goals, 30 assists) to Phoenix for forward Peter Mueller (four goals, 13 assists), who has struggled this season after collecting 22 goals in his rookie season.

The Boston Bruins bolstered their defense acquiring Dennis Seidenberg, a member of Germany's Olympic team from the Florida Panthers for Byron Bitz and Craig Weller while shipping veteran blueliner Derek Morris to the Coyotes.

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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